Photographed Human, Photoshoped In-Human – Ralph Lauren’s Brand Marketing

With advent of Photoshop, Final Cut Pro and the bevy of computer programs designed to alter, enhance and correct photos and films, it’s no challenging feat to blur the line between reality and irreality.

Indeed, the discrepancies between the two make for an entangling dilemma.

Amazingly, Ralph Lauren took the picture of 21-year-old Filippa Hamilton (left) and gave her a serious digital makeover. First, they condensed her waist from a size eight to a size zero (I’m not familiar enough with womens’ sizes to know if there is a smaller size than that). Then, they virtually zapped all the muscle from her arms (they were at least careful enough to make sure no bone was showing). Finally, they airbrushed any blemish, blurred any wrinkle, and then attached its copyright to the photo (right).

When all was said and done, it was pushed through the marketing department, mass produced and intended to represent Ralph Lauren’s brand image.

When the company was called out on it, a spokesman quickly apologized for the “poor image and retouching.”

This advertising bespeaks a bigger issue though. Dr. Kimberly Dennis, M.D., medical director at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center summarizes it succinctly:

“The standards society as a whole projects to our young women are unfair, unrealistic, dangerous and even deadly. Advertisements like this most recent ad by Ralph Lauren are blatantly irresponsible and send damaging and deadly messages to girls and young women across the nation.”

She continues, “The continued importance and pressure society places on being thin, especially for women, can take a toll on someone already susceptible to life threatening illnesses, like eating disorders or depression, and can also trigger feelings in someone who has never struggled before. While we recognize a small number of magazines and fashion shows have already taken a positive step in addressing the ‘skinny model’ problem, we urge the fashion industry as a whole to re-evaluate the inhuman images they continue to promote.”

I commend the company for pulling the image, but I question how it was even deemed acceptable to begin with.

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