By Gabby Neal
With the amount of retouching and editing that goes into campaigns and editorials and the smoke and mirrors which has saturated the world of social media – the fashion industry can be portrayed so far from the truth that the concept of reality in advertising has completely diminished.
Just recently, France passed its new laws stating that it will be “mandatory to use the label ‘retouched photo’ alongside any photo used for commercial purposes when the body of a model has been modified by an image-editing software to either slim or flesh out her figure”.
A major step in the right direction considering the damaging and incredibly unhealthy impact these distorted images can have, especially on the younger generations. With those found not adhering to the new laws seeing themselves hit with a possible fine upwards of $56,000 (AUD). Most likely costing more than the campaign itself.
In saying that, it is quite easy to identify when someone has been airbrushed or paid to push a product. It’s been going on for so long now that most of us can recognise the tell-tale signs; regardless of these new laws or guidelines set out by the FTC – the required use of #ad or #sp when something is sponsored. We’re still continuing to flip the pages and scroll through the feeds unamused, unstimulated and relatively unaffected. Not caring for an images authenticity, rather the inspirational value it holds instead.
However, it might surprise you to note, that there are still other ways in which the industry is able to manipulate its consumer. Dodging a fine line between false-advertising and standard industry procedure.
1. Summer Campaigns aren’t always that hot and aren’t always that sunny
Common practice: summer campaigns are more often than not always shot in the winter or in a studio where they can create the perfect artificial lighting. Bella Hadid recently came out explaining that she shot her latest Bulgari campaign for three, 15-hour days in the cold. Speaking to PEOPLE she said “It was really, really cold and it was three 15-hour days. It was aggressive, but it was definitely worth it”. Something you definitely can’t tell when looking at the images.
2. Runway shows and campaigns sponsored by beauty brands don’t always use their own products
They might have the products on show for all the media to see, but you’d be surprised to know that the products they say they use, they actually don’t. Rather opting for their old faithfuls or high-end, quality products. It’s quite common for both hair stylists and makeup artists to switch up their products and use competing brands to create a final look.
3. Bulldog clips and tape are used to make clothes look like they fit
It’s a common styling trick used to make the clothes look like they fit. There is so much inconsistency with brands and their sizing, an 8 in one could be the equivalent of a 10 in another, and sometimes the models can be smaller than expected too. That’s why you see bull dog clips running up their back, clinching in the fabric or the use of chicken fillets to make the model appear fuller in the breast. An unnamed source once told Refinery29 that sometimes the Victoria’s Secret Models even wear a push-up bra under their bathing suits for an even fuller cleavage.
4. Models might not be made up of the same model
Surprisingly, some campaigns can be made up of a jigsaw of images. One model mightn’t have great feet so they’ll swap in another’s, or in other cases they might Photoshop their face onto an entirely different body. In 2011 H&M came under fire for pasting models heads onto computer generated bodies for their online store.
5. Instagram models and celebrities don’t own all that they promote
Sorry to tell you but these IG famous people don’t always own all they care to share with the world. Sometimes they might be ‘gifted’ the product, other times they might be on loan. And this goes for much more than just clothing; cars and appliances too! Cars can be on loan from 3-12 months, holidays can be an all-expenses paid trip made up of vouchers and designer clothing can be gifted. Most models cannot afford buying all the designers clothing new, every season let alone those business class seats.
Obviously there is a lot being done to make sure people are aware of this, however there is still a long way to go if we want full transparency.
But in the world of media and advertising, aren’t we always going to want to create a little greener grass on the other side? Whether it’s realistic or not?