There have been a number of sea changes in modeling, advertisements, and the way women and models are depicted in the media lately. Fashion shows have started to ban models with Body Mass Indexes that are under 18. Retailers like J. Crew are using regular people in photo shoots instead of models and even some stores that employ models have committed to no longer dramatically retouch photos. Even magazines are taking the pledge to stop airbrushing models. But, surprisingly enough, it’s lingerie companies that are being the most bold in the shift in how they depict women’s bodies, going from unattainable to ordinary-and-awesome.
First up: Forever Yours Lingerie, a company based in Vancouver, CA. The company offers intimates for women of all sizes: bras start at a B cup size and go up through K. And, while the company has always featured a models representative of their broad demographic, they recently stepped up to show support for one plus size model they adore, Elly Mayday, who is undergoing treatment for a rare form of ovarian cancer.
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The airbrushing of fashion models has been a contentious issue for several years, and a U.K. department store has sparked renewed interest in the topic. British department store Debenhams made a splash this week when they posted a picture of a model before and after airbrushing. The photo depicts a beautiful model in lingerie, and points out all of the flaws that will need to be corrected in Photoshop. From skimming down arm and leg size to enhancing cleavage, 16 changes were deemed necessary before publishing the photo. Merely adhering to the editing standards of the industry, Debenhams has committed to changing this practice.
“We’re showing our commitment to encouraging positive body image by using un-airbrushed lingerie photography,” read a statement on the official Debenhams Facebook page. Debenhams is one of many fashion brands to recently amend their practices in an attempt to set a better example for girls with body image issues. Last summer, Vogue and Seventeen Magazine announced it would no longer feature “too thin” models, with Vogue going even further by banning the hiring of underage models. Fashion houses in Spain and Italy now have a standard BMI of which models cannot fall under; Israel passed legislation prohibiting models to fall below a BMI limit of 18.5.
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