The fashion industry has earned an ugly reputation for itself by relying on one “standard” body image and the extreme use of Photoshop to depict the “perfect” figure. Though individuals and some companies have come out against these practices, they are still mainstream.
This wasn’t acceptable to Susan Koger, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of ModCloth, an online fashion retailer. In a recent op-ed, she challenged the fashion industry to do better, and announced her company will help lead the way.
“I’m proud to call myself a fashion insider; but I’m also deeply disappointed in the way my industry depicts fashion to consumers,” she wrote.
“I look out, and it seems less about helping people find fashion they love to wear, and more about convincing them that they need to conform to one eerily consistent standard of beauty. A standard built on highly altered and often unrealistic images. I think we can do better.”
In a recent third-party survey, ModCloth found that almost two-thirds of women have more brand loyalty when the brand celebrates and shows beauty in all shapes and sizes. Women certainly aren’t all the same size and shape, and it’s high time beauty standards reflect that.
American Eagle and Aerie got the ball rolling earlier this year with their pledge to not Photoshop their models and ModCloth is ready to step up and make a pledge of their own.
“It is time to put an end to the extreme Photoshopping and the false and unrealistic expectations placed upon women (and men for that matter),” Koger wrote.
“This is why ModCloth recently became the first to sign The Brave Girls Alliance ‘Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge,’ an anti-airbrushing petition which aims to ‘do our best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features, of the people in our ads in post-production.'”
Additionally, ModCloth has pledged to cast a variety of women from their community (their customers) and show them as they truly are. This will be done in part through ModCloth’s #FashionTruth casting call campaign. Each month, ModCloth will select one member of their community to be featured on their website – exactly as they are.
Though ModCloth already offers fun fashion in a wide variety of sizes and uses a diverse group of models, #FashionTruth is an expansion on the company’s commitment to make their fashion accessible to everyone and every body.
Another part of the Truth in Advertising Heroes Pledge is the promise that if photos are edited to change the appearance of the subject, a label will be added informing viewers that the image they are seeing has been altered.
Americans see an average of 3,000 ads a day and many of those images stick. For young girls and women, the constant barrage of images of stick thin, homogenized models can be brutal on their self-esteem. The Brave Girls Alliance, inspired by the Disney Pixar film Brave, calls on companies to stop stereotyping and over-sexualizing girls and women by making everything pink, sparkly and traditionally princess-y.
They also hope to convince those in media to stop reinforcing the idea that to be beautiful you must be tall, thin and the fashion industry’s idea of “perfect.”
Koger issues a call to all women who feel it’s time they’re represented as they are, saying, “it [the pledge] is also a challenge to the industry, because reflecting women as they really are should be the rule – not the exception. Let’s show the rest of the world what the real and varied fashion landscape looks like. My hunch is that it looks an awful lot like you.”
Image and video from modcloth.com