Fashion retailer Drop Dead Clothing has had an online advert banned due to the “socially irresponsible” use of a noticeably skinny model, it was revealed today.
In a judgement that will come as welcome news to eating disorder campaigners and those who criticise fashion’s preference for unusually thin young women, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled that the offending ad can not appear again in its current form.
A complaint was made by a user of the trader’s website iheartdropdead.com regarding an ad which showed a size eight woman modelling a number of outfits such as bikinis and denim shorts.
The complainant claimed that the model looked underweight and possibly anorexic but Drop Dead Clothing defended its ad saying that size eight was their most popular dress size and that the woman in the shots represented everyday young people.
In its assessment, the ASA stated: “The ASA considered that the model was very slim, and noted that in the bikini images her hip, rib and collar bones were highly visible. We also noted that in the bikini and denim shorts images, hollows in her thighs were noticeable and she had prominent thigh bones.
“We considered that in combination with the stretched out pose and heavy eye makeup, the model looked underweight in the pictures.”
Whilst admitting that the model did not have much fat around her ribs, and that the pose adopted in the shots and the heavy eye make-up used may have given her a more gaunt look, Drop Dead Clothing pointed out she had a regular bust & hips shape and healthy skin, and that other photos showed she was not ill or unhealthy.
ASA officials disagreed with this assessment however and ruled that the ad broke the CAP Code in relation to rules on social responsibility and harm and offence.
Its judgement continued: “We noted that Drop Dead’s target market was young people.
“We considered that using a noticeably skinny model with visible hip, rib, collar and thigh bones, who wore heavy makeup and was posed in ways that made her body appear thinner, was likely to impress upon that audience that the images were representative of the people who might wear Drop Dead’s clothing, and as being something to aspire to.
“Therefore, while we considered the bikini and denim short images might not cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded they were socially irresponsible.”
Drop Dead Clothing is based in Sheffield and trades primarily online in the UK but also has a store located in London’s Carnaby Village.