H&M decided to use plus-sized model Jennie Runk to be the face and body of its new beachwear collection.
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But what makes H&M’s decision so laudable is how casually it handled breaking fashion norms. There was no press release or loud declaration on its website.
It just so happened that when consumers clicked on the “new beachwear” section on the retailer’s website home page, they were greeted by images of a six foot tall woman with curvy proportions you’re more likely to see in a normal setting rather than on a runway.
“Models whose bodies differ from the straight-size standard should be visible in fashion, outside of the stigmatizing magazine “Size” issues and the dedicated “Plus” categories, which retailers always seem to bury,” Jezebel’s Jenna Sauers wrote. “Why shouldn’t Jennie Runk, and other women like her, get [to] be on the homepage, too?”
This quiet integration seems to be H&M’s style.
The Swedish retailer began using mannequins with size 12 bodies in its lingerie departments in March. But even though H&M did so quietly, critics loudly complained once they noticed the figures, saying that the company was promoting obesity.
Although looking at Runk’s photos, she looks anything but unhealthy, which only emphasizes the bizarre norms that the fashion industry has created.
Consumers visiting H&M’s homepage were greeted with this invitation to click through its new beachwear collection.
At first it was hard to tell that Jennie Runk wasn’t your “typical” model.
She has curves like most average, healthy looking women.