Blog: Michelle RussellHappy New Year from just-style

Michelle Russell | 2 January 2015

Happy New Year from the team at just-style. We hope you had a good break. 

An initial look through industry news over the Christmas break revealed concern for lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters, which has been pulled up by the UK's advertising watchdog over a super-skinny underwear model on its website.

The Advertising Standards Agency said the complainant, who believed the model in the picture was unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and harmful.

The lingerie advert featured the lower half of the woman's body wearing a pair of briefs. The ASA said it considered the model was "very thin", and noted, in particular, there was a significant gap between the model's thighs, and that her thighs and knees were a similar width.

The advertising watchdog expressed concern that the retailer's target market of young people might see the image as something to aspire to, and therefore banned the ad from appearing again in its current form.

In response, Urban Outfitters argued the model came from "one of the UK's most successful and well-respected agencies", and had a waist size of 23.5 inches, and provided documentation from outerwear brands showing they provided clothing for that waist size.

The firm added that it was common practice to use slim models in the underwear industry, but that they didn't consider the model was underweight or unhealthily thin; they considered she had a naturally tall and slim physique.

While that particular image appears to have now been taken down from the site, others are still being used on the website that are very similar.

A blog on Bustle.com argues that while the models on the website are indeed thin, if anyone searched major retail sites, they would find almost identical photos featuring very similar models.

"Does this make the photos acceptable? Of course not, but one has to wonder if Urban Outfitters is simply being put under an extra critical microscope due to some of their past transgressions," the writer suggests.

Sectors: Apparel

Companies: Urban Outfitters

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