Debenhams is very keen to promote positive body image
Debenhams has broken ranks with the rest of the high street by using un-airbrushed photography in its windows to launch new swimwear lines for the summer.
Debenhams believes that the over use of some digital photography techniques to create unrealistic body shapes and flawless skin can make women feel more insecure about their natural looks and size. The move highlights the retailer's long standing commitment to encouraging positive body-image through minimal digital retouching.
Mark Woods, director of creative & visual, said, "As a responsible retailer we want to help customers make the most of their beauty without bombarding them with unattainable body images.
"Our campaign is all about making women feel good about themselves - not eroding their self belief and esteem by using false comparisons.
"Not only does it make sense from a moral point of view, it ticks the economic boxes as well. Millions of pounds a year are spent by organisations retouching perfectly good images.
"As a rule we only airbrush minor things like pigmentation or stray hair and rely on the natural beauty of models to make our product look great.
"We are proud to bring the issue of re-touching into the main stream when the likes of Britney Spears and Madonna are using un-airbrushed but over-lit images as a shock tactic."
Caryn Franklin, fashion commentator and broadcaster, said, "Retailers do have the power to take a stance on digital manipulation. Fashion and beauty imagery that is honest is absolutely crucial for all women to see. I'm delighted that Debenhams has taken the lead here and customer feedback will no doubt validate this important step."
Signage in the window will read: 'We've not messed with natural beauty; this image is un-airbrushed. What do you think?' It will also show customers an example of just how much the image could have been altered.
Jo Swinson, Lib Dem MP and co-founder Campaign for Body Confidence MP said, "It's great news that Debenhams will be using images of real women who have not been digitally manipulated to advertise their new swimwear range.
"More and more people are realising that airbrushing and other trickery are not necessary in order for women to look beautiful. I am sure that what this will demonstrate is that swimwear modelled by real women who have not been retouched can sell just as well as products advertised with extensive airbrushing, which has become the norm.
"Women can feel good about themselves knowing that beauty is not about achieving the unachievable."
This is not the first time Debenhams has shown its commitment to promoting positive body image - in January the store ran a trial with size 16 mannequins in windows, and then in February, Debenhams released images using disabled model Shannon Murray to launch the retailer's new Principles by Ben de Lisi range.
The first window which celebrates natural beauty has been unveiled at the Debenhams Oxford Street store where staff members will be asking shoppers what they think, before the initiative is later rolled out across the country.