Brands that don't retouch their models may be small in number, but they are contributing to a much-needed shift in body positivity culture. Photoshopping in ads and magazines has become a toxic norm in the beauty/fashion industry, and celebrities and models alike are calling out brands that have shrunk their waist or made their breasts larger to fit an unrealistic beauty standard.
Image alteration isn't a new concept by any stretch. Hollywood starlets like Audrey Hepburn and Joan Crawford saw their photos doctored too, which goes to show how deeply ingrained this harmful practice is in our culture.
Fortunately, these brands hope to change the way fashion, makeup, and more are presented. Their campaigns celebrate diverse body types, skin tones, genders, cultures, and styles, promoting body positivity and challenging the imagery the beauty industry has been selling for so long. They emulate the idea that fashion isn’t exclusive, and everyone has the right to feel confident, sexy, beautiful, and empowered.
Darling's editor-in-chief Sarah Dubbeldam stated "by not Photoshopping women, we are saying women are not in need of alteration in any way shape or form and that they are beautiful the way they are." She strives to create a magazine that focuses less on "body image" and more on "self-esteem" and "character."
DovePhoto: Unilever / Wikimedia Commons
Dove started their "Campaign for Real Beauty" just over 10 years ago, being one of the first major beauty brands to show ads with women of all body types without any alterations. They continued to speak out against photoshopping with their video "Evolution," which detailed the digital process and showcased just how much is changed.
The fashion brand believes in representing "all women" stating on their website: "We don’t alter the shapes of our models, we don’t airbrush their bodies, these are real women who enjoy feeling comfortable in their own skin."
Verily MagazinePhoto: Verily
The magazine features on their page a Photoshop policy, which promises explicitly that "[they] never alter the body or facial structure of our models, remove wrinkles or birthmarks, or change the texture of their skin." They strive to feature the unique characteristics of the women in their content, believing there's nothing that needs to "removed" by a digital process.