H&M Photoshops Model Heads Onto CGI Bodies

Clothing retailer H&M has sparked quite a bit of controversy after admitting that most of the models featured on its website are computer generated. The company says that pasting real model heads onto CGI bodies provides a better way of displaying clothes made for humans than using real humans to model them. Spokeswoman Nicole Christine tells ABC News:

This technique can be found in use throughout the industry. This is not to be seen as conveying a specific ideal or body type, but merely a technique to show our garments.

It is regrettable if we have led anyone to believe that the virtual mannequins should be real bodies. This is incorrect and has never been our intention. We will continue to discuss internally how we can be clearer about this in the information towards our customers.

Although the identical poses and proportions are hard to overlook, the company does match the skin tones of the bodies to the faces quite well, making the ‘shopped nature of individual photos difficult to detect.

(via Jezebel via

  • Jeremiah Warren

    I find this hilarious, only because I was wondering the other day why they don’t just do the models as CG, since they overshop them anyway. 

  • Anonymous

    It makes sense though, instead of having to book a model for a couple of weeks so they can wear every outfit, they can just shoot them in one day and do all the outfits afterwards

  • Scott Mains

    most agencies won’t book a model for a few weeks. Typically they get their details and work out the right clothes and ‘look’ for them. 2 maybe 3 days max. 

  • ivan

    As much as it sucks for photographers, it makes sense for the company.  Paying 2-5k/day for a model or hiring a cgi artist…

  • LoriW

    Target corp online does the exact same thing and has for years.  

  • Nate

    “It is regrettable if we have led anyone to believe that the virtual
    mannequins should be real bodies. This is incorrect and has never been
    our intention.”
    Why spend the effort time and money it takes to head-swap, match skin tones… or have a “real” looking skin tone AT ALL if your intention isn’t to FOOL people into believing that the “virtual mannequins” are “real bodies”

    Worse “spin” ever form a PR drone.

  • The Hipster Dad

    Perhaps the models should #OccupyH&M?

  • Justin Manteuffel

    Really?  From a financial standpoint, maybe, but CGI is a better way of displaying clothes made for humans than using real humans? Balderdash.

  • Melo

    Ever heard of a mannequin?  Why is this an issue?  Aren’t there people starving somewhere or a war to complain about instead?

  • François Cellier

    Obviously H&M is saving money; but it also makes perfect sense because the company changes its collection every couple of weeks: They need reactivity and traditional model shootings aren’t really convenient.
    This is really no big deal.

  • Zak Henry

    Morality aside, how do they do the actual clothes? Are they CGI themselves or shot on the greenscreen mannequin and applied to the CGI model?

  • Tzctplus -

    How can one evaluate if a garment actually sits properly in a body if all about the presentation of the product is fake?

    It is akin to photoshoping food to make it appear delicious and once you have the real thing in front of you is vomit inducing.

    It is about time that companies come clean about when they are using digital means to manipualte something or not (I am writting this in a hurry, but surely some sane guidelines can be drawn….)

  • Serhano

    hey H&M! PAY properly for real photos of real humans, 
    there are photographers, models, studios out there waiting for new business..

  • Silje Andersen

    I’ve long wondered the same, Zak. Anyone know how it’s done?

  • Drew Botts

    they are shot on a mannequin

  • Matt

    Why even photoshop models faces on?  Go CGI all the way…

  • 9inchnail

    Newsflash: H&M is not the Salvation Army. They don’t give a shit about phoographers and their businesses and you can’t expect them to.

  • Riddikulus

     And this is what’s wrong with capitalism.

  • Marie Haughey

    That was my first thought, too. It’s hard enough to tell how a piece of clothing will look on an average-sized person when the models are so skinny, but then switching to CGI? Even stick-thin models aren’t “good enough” anymore? Sheesh. 

  • Tzctplus -

    Why? Resources are allocated from an inefficient process to an efficient one, that is what is supposed to happen. Clients part of the game is to decide if they are being offered a good product, or take their money elsewhere, what is ridiculous to expect is that people investing their money in a business act as a charitable organization.