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H&M Admits Models Have Been 'Too Skinny,' Pledges To Use Healthy Models in Ads

Beyoncé's Spring 2013 swimwear campaign for H&M
Beyoncé's Spring 2013 swimwear campaign for H&M

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In an interview with free daily newspaper the Metro, H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson admitted that models in H&M's ad campaigns have been overly thin in the past. "Some of our models have been too skinny. That's not OK," he told the Metro.

He went on to admit that the sheer size and influence of H&M gives the company a lot of responsibility in the industry.

"We have a huge responsibility here. We're a large company, many people see us, and we advertise a lot... I believe that the models in our advertising should look sound and healthy. There are models who are too thin or obviously underweight, but there are also those who're just thin, and they're the ones we should keep working with, as long as they look sound and healthy," he said.

He pointed to the brand's campaign with Beyoncé as an example of the healthy body image H&M is striving for. "We want to show diversity in our advertising and not give people the impression that girls have to look a particular way. By and large, I think we've succeeded: we've many different kinds of models from different ethnic backgrounds. In our last campaign we had a somewhat more buxom model, and now we're using Beyoncé, who's a bit curvier as well."

According to Vogue UK, H&M also adhered to Bey's "no Photoshop" policy. According to them, she was "annoyed" to discover that the shots had been retouched and demanded that only "natural" photos be used.

Presson says at the end of the day, it's not just about the botton line. "It's not just about maximizing profit; you have to do it in a fair way, too," he says. "I want to feel proud today and when I leave H&M and look back at what we've done. I want to feel that we were the just company regarding our social responsibilities: caring about the environment, choice of models, social issues."
· H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson on anorexic models, Bangladeshi factory workers [Metro]
· Behold Beyoncé for H&M, the Complete Campaign [Racked]