High-end retailers are more likely to retouch images for e-commerce

If you’ve ever ordered something online and it arrived looking completely different, you are not alone. And, this is especially true if you’ve ordered from a high-end retailer like Net-A-Porter.

“In addition to Photoshopping their models, retailers Photoshop their clothes, too,” according to Galore. “At least Net-A-Porter does.”

On March 8, “Net-A-Porter accidentally uploaded a photo of a puffy coat with retouching notes on their website,” Galore continues.

[source: Cosmo]
According to the notes, the puffy coat was too puffy; “Please slim” was written with four arrows pointing towards different problem areas on the garment.

“A few hours later, Net-A-Porter realized [its] mistake and switched out the picture, but by then it was too late.”

Net-A-Porter replaced the marked-up image with a similar one; this time, however, the notes were removed and there was no apparent retouching, according to Cosmo.

“We post images that accurately represent the garments so that customers receive the product they expect,” Net-A-Porter told Cosmo in response to the incident. “This image was uploaded to our product page in error and the notes refer exclusively to the garments.”

[source: Cosmo]
It makes you wonder, if a luxury retailer like Net-A-Porter can get away with photoshopping garments that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, what are fast fashion retailers getting away with?

But, according to Marine Michel, a former a professional retoucher for a German luxury retailer similar to Net-A-Porter, high-end retailers use photoshop much more often than their low-end counterparts.

“[Low-end retailers] do it way less…I notice these things now when I go on [the] online shops,” Michel tells Galore.

“In the UK we have Boohoo, which is quite cheap, and it doesn’t look that retouched…Maybe a little bit of skin retouching, but [it is] very finely done. The same [is true] for H&M; it’s not that bad. But when you go to luxury retailers, then you realize how much they do it.”

So, what exactly do these high-end e-commerce sites retouch?

According to Michel, it is everything from stains to stitches to zippers.

“[Retouchers make] the clothes look a little better quality and [they make] the fabric look nicer…Sometimes you have this fabric cloth where you can immediately see through it from shitty online shops,” Michel continues.

“When the girl is wearing a dress and she has her legs slightly apart and you can see through the dress, you know [it] is a bad polyester fabric. Well, we would color it in so it would look like nice heavy material.”

“I mean the dress might cost 500 bucks, but it’s still shit quality, that doesn’t change anything. But we gotta sell it, so we gotta make it look good.”

Boohoo does not attempt to hide that this 100 percent viscose dress, embroidered with 100 percent polyester, is see-through, $28 [source: Boohoo]
Certainly, there is some level of unethical behavior at play here, but are these practices legal? I spoke with Sophia Bagienski-Mangual, sales manager of a small clothing company and Fashion Institute of Technology alumna, to uncover the truth.

“Photographers definitely touch the photos up big time,” Bagienski-Mangual says. Special, more flattering lighting also plays a large role in the images e-commerce websites use, she says, however, her company no longer advertises.

“When we did shoot some of our styles, we pinched them from the back to make them fit the models better. As far as better fabrics, it would depend on the item itself. If it were a polyester blend, we would [photograph] silk or another high-end fabric.”

As long as the retailers do not claim to sell garments made of silk or other luxury fabrics, they are in the clear. That is, the items’ descriptions on e-commerce sites must clearly state what exactly the customers receive when they order a garment, even if the images themselves do not match the fabric compositions listed.

“We knock-off styles all the time from high end lines; we just pick less expensive fabrics,” Bagienski-Mangual adds.

Supermodel Jourdan Dunn speaks out against body shaming

On the surface Jourdan Dunn is the total package: she’s leggy, athletic and has a killer complexion. But, even supermodels have their insecurities. In a recent interview with Glamour magazine, the 26-year-old spoke out against body shaming, according to Daily Mail.

Jourdan Dun for Glamour UK, 2017 [source: the Fashion Spot]
After a successful 11-year modeling career, the English beauty is trying her hand in the design aspect of fashion; her collection in collaboration with online retailer Missguided, dubbed LonDunn x Missguided, goes live in March.

“When asked about how the range reaches ‘real women’ [Dunn] was quick to point out that she herself, is a ‘real woman’ as she responded with an incensed answer,” according to Daily Mail.

“I don’t really like the term ‘real women,'” says Dunn.

“When you compare ‘real women’ to models, it’s like they are not real, and it’s like, what do you mean? I live on earth. I have breasts. I have a vagina. I am very much real.”

Jourdan Dun for Glamour UK, 2017 [source: the Fashion Spot]
The interviewers question regarding “real women” suggests that a supermodel like Dunn, with seemingly superhuman beauty, poise and talent must be fake; Dunn made it clear that is not the case.

“Just because [supermodels] don’t have any body fat and have faces rockstars write love songs about” certainly doesn’t mean they are not real women, according to Maria Pasquini, a writer for Galore.

Dunn just so happens to possess a handful of desirable features; she is 6-feet tall with chiseled cheekbones and a striking jawline. To say that Dunn, or any supermodel for that matter, is not a “real woman” because of her appearance only furthers the body shaming these critics condemn.

Body shaming, as defined by Google, is “the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.”

So, when the so-called feminists who preach “real women have curves; dogs like bones” attack a supermodel for being “too thin,” or discredit her accomplishments and hard work by suggesting she had cosmetic surgery or uses other unnatural methods to enhance her appearance, they are body shaming.

Before her discovery in 2006, Dunn admits to being extremely self-conscious about her tall, slim figure, which proves all types of women–not just overweight or curvy women–fall victim to insecurities and body shaming.

“I was self-conscious of being so lanky, of being me,” Dunn said in an interview with Islandistas.

“I’d keep my head down, make excuses not to go out. I’d look in the mirror and hate myself. I thought I was disgusting. I cried constantly from 11 to 16.”

Jourdan Dunn walks the runway at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2014 [source: Huffington Post UK]
At the age of 15 Dunn was scouted by an agent from Storm Model Management, with whom she is still signed today, while shopping with a friend at a London Primark. The following autumn, Dunn made her runway debut walking for the likes of Marc Jacobs and Polo Ralph Lauren during New York Fashion Week.

Since then, Dunn has been featured on the covers of Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Italia and W Magazine, among others. She appears in campaigns for Yves Saint Laurent, Victoria’s Secret, Free People and Saks Fifth Avenue, among others. In the spring of 2010 she walked the runway for Jean Paul Gaultier with a noticeable baby bump. Dunn also walked the runway later that year during London Fashion Week ten weeks after giving birth to her son at age 19, according to British Vogue.

Whether she won the genetic lottery or worked hard to be where she is today (I’m willing to bet it is a combination of the two), Dunn is certainly human–and all her fellow models, too. Embracing our differences and celebrating one another’s beauty is what feminism should really be about.