Canadian retailer Jacob “takes a stand” on retouching

Jacob announced this afternoon that as of their current campaign, they will no longer be altering the bodies of the models who appear in ads for both their clothing and lingerie brands. A press release from the Quebec-based retailer says they have decided to “take a stand” on retouching, stating:

“As a socially responsible company, JACOB has always made an effort to promote a healthy image of the female body. By adopting an official policy and broadcasting it publicly, we hope to reverse the trend in digital photo manipulation that has become excessive in our industry,” says spokesperson and Communications Director Cristelle Basmaji. “Our decision to never reshape the bodies of our models is particularly innovative for our JACOB Lingerie campaigns.”

Included with the release were three images–what Jacob says is the original shot, the image used in the campaign, and the same picture retouched as it would have been before the new policy. We are hard pressed to see a major difference between the first two, though the third–showing thinning in the hips and thighs and shading on the model’s bust–suggests that the company wasn’t engaging in anything nearly as extreme as the infamously stretched Ralph Lauren ad starring Filippa Hamilton. (Critics of this kind of photo manipulation would argue that extreme or not, any is too much.) Jacob is careful to stipulate that they are not against all retouching: The company will still erase uneven skin tone or scars and will correct colours.

Retouching has become a hot-button issue. Recent controversies surrounding Photoshop work on images on Nordstrom’s and Ann Taylor’s websites forced both companies to admit that they’d been a bit “heavy-handed” and “overzealous,” respectively, but Jacob is one of the first major clothing brands we know of to institute a near ban on manipulating the bodies of the models in their images. It will be interesting to see any brands in Canada or the U.S. follow suit.

What do you think? Do you want to see more companies do this? Tell us in the comments!

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