Selfridges escapes censure over 'too-thin' model ad

Department store Selfridges has been cleared of using a model who looked “unhealthily thin” in a marketing email with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority agreeing with the retailer that she did not seem to be "significantly underweight”. It also said the model appears to be in proportion.


Selfridges escaped censure over its use of a model claimed to be too thin


The ASA has taken a particular interest in advertising that promotes ‘unhealthy’ body standards in recent periods and has previously banned ads from both Saint Laurent and Gucci on these grounds. It was investigating the Selfridges ad after a complaint from just one person that it was “socially irresponsible”.

The marketing email, sent in January, showed a model standing side-on wearing a long, sleeveless dress. Selfridges said she had not been posed that way in order to emphasise her slimness.

The retailer accepted that the model was thin but said that the loose fit of the dress would distort the way she was viewed and that people’s perception of whether a model looks unhealthily thin is subjective.

"We considered most people, including young children and women, would interpret the ad as focusing on the design and fit of the dress, rather than on desirable body image," it said.

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