H&M CEO: ‘Our Models Have Been Too Skinny’

Fast fashion giant H&M has been the target of a constant stream of criticism in wake of the Bangladesh clothing factory fires. H&M, and other fast fashion retailers, have been pushed by the public to reform all aspects of their operations, especially those pertaining to ethical factory practices and workers rights.

The magazine Metro recently sat down with H&M’s CEO Karl-John Persson to discuss some of these issues and wasted no time before criticizing all aspects of H&M’s business. The interview quickly turned to other fashion industry hot topics, such as model casting dilemmas and too-thin models.

Persson’s response was surprisingly unexpected. Either he’s taking a submissive approach to all issues surrounding H&M or he truly feels that H&M has irresponsibly used models that are too thin in past campaigns.

He explained:

“I don’t think we’ve always been good. Some of the models we’ve had have been too skinny. That’s something we think a lot about and are working on. 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 having Beyoncé, who’s a bit curvier as well.”

H&M is by no means a company that only caters to a size 0 demographic, so it’s completely justified to say that H&M has been irresponsible by only portraying super thin models in their campaigns.

When asked what direction H&M would take for future campaigns, Persson stated:

“There are models who’re 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. We can get more disciplined, because sometimes there have been mistakes. “

Definitely a safe answer, there’s no denying that H&M is trying to make a positive change and set a good example for other fast fashion retailers.

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