Okay, so I almost hate to say something about this after my amazing Ann Taylor Loft spy/employee friend Shelley snagged some trouser jeans for me for seven bucks last night ( I know! I'm still reeling at the deal), but I can't keep my trap shut about a recent debacle Ann Taylor is having.
I saw this news story late last night that spurred some thoughts in my brain about body image and advertising on yahoo and then I visited the initial blog where it was exposed (http://jezebel.com/5605608/ann-taylor-we-agree-our-retouching-has-been-overzealous)...
Ann Taylor has quite the PR crisis of her hands, as this is not the first time the company has been called out
for retouching images in their ads. This crisis is all the more delicate and tricky, as an apology and promise to do better has also been previously issued...and clearly not heeded
Okay so let's get down to the nitty gritty here. Which of these images do you prefer?
Not that I ever will be or ever want to be in this realm of skinny, but I have to go with the image on the left. The product is accurately represented by the tops gentle creasing naturally against the "curves" of the model, while on the right she has been vectored, liquified and generally over-doctored in Photoshop to have her unnaturally thin figure. Her waist might be a grand total of ten inches, if she was a real life person. And the top isn't even shaped like it seems in the left photo.
So first off, can you guys tell me who the hell looks like this doctored image in your waking life? I literally maybe know one or two people and it's because they are extremely tall and thin naturally. You can tell the damn difference between natural skinniness and an image that makes you want to tackle a graphic designer. Do these companies think the general public is completely inept? Perhaps they are right... but not this girl.
I have to wonder how the marketing team at AT has been misled to think this product representation is the best channel to selling clothing. According to a March 2009 LA Times article, the average American woman weighs 162.9 pounds and wears a size 14. And with the way America eats, you know that size and poundage has only increased over time. So why then, are size 14 women, the supposed average size American woman, treated as freaks in these retailers' ads and windows? Houston, we have a problem.
This "high fashion" concept of boniness/European chic/starving model/sallow sourness bullshit has been bleeding into the marketing teams of American designers who make career and casual wear for audiences of slightly below average to above average income American women, like you or me. I don't know about you, but some things in high fashion makes me want to barf or just laugh my ass off. No one in small town USA can pull off some of the shit you see during fashion week. So why do we get marketed to like we can?
If you wore this to a cocktail party, would your friends giggle and possibly talk about you behind your back?