Entries in H&M (3)


'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' H&M Clothing Line Under Attack

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Lisbeth Salander is a rape victim, an abuse survivor and a heroine in the The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, and the fictional character will also become a style icon if the clothing line by H&M is any indication.

The clothing line that sold out in Los Angeles in ten minutes, according to the designer, is under fire by blogger Natalie Karneef who wrote a blog item titled "An Open Letter to H&M from a Rape Survivor": "…H&M, you have created a line of clothing based on her character: a woman who has suffered a lifetime of abuse, who is violently raped, and who is hunting down a man who violently rapes and kills other women."

"Lisbeth has been through hell, and her clothing is her armor. That's her choice, and it's an understandable choice. But you glamorize it, putting a glossy, trendy finish on the face of sexual violence and the rage and fear it leaves behind."

H&M did not return our request for comment. In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, a spokesperson for H&M wrote, "We have read the open letter by Natalie Karnefwe apologize if she or anyone has been offended by the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo collection by Trish Summerville -- this has not in any way been our intent. The collection is based on and inspired by the film and character Lisbeth Salander and though we think Lisbeth is a strong woman who stands up for her ideal, we are not trying to represent her specifically."

The spokesperson continued, "Our goal is to rather offer a collection that we see in today's trend picture that will appeal to many customers. We do not view this collection as provocative-it contains pieces that are staples in many people's wardrobes: jeans, biker jackets and t-shirts. It's all about how you wear them. We encourage our customers to find their own personal way to wear our products."

The brand also came under fire last week for using virtual models to sell apparel online.

The 30-piece Dragon Tattoo collection that ranges in price from $9.95 to $199 is the work of Trish Summerville, who worked as the costume designer for the David Fincher film. The costume design for the Swedish trilogy was done by Cilla Rorby.

Summerville declined to comment for our story.

The clothing line is a marriage of grays and black is made for mass consumption. In the past, H&M has done collections with Madonna, Stella McCartney and other famous people.

"At issue is not H&M glamorizing rape, says Karneef, but "glamorizing surviving rape." The release of the line comes days ahead of the Dec. 21 opening of the English speaking version of Dragon starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

"My fear is that people will watch the film and have this impression of the heroine and what she endured to be that person," Karneef told ABC News. "I did not go through what she went through but I don't want people to not acknowledge how much [rape] destroys a life. Any type of abuse breaks a person down."

"It's really easy to say 'yeah, she is cool' but what [Lisbeth] went through is really disturbing," she continued.

The book is a part of the Millennium series that brought to life the Salander character after the author was allegedly wracked with guilt after witnessing a gang rape or, as a former colleague stated, it came from a desire to create an aged and dysfunctional Pippi Longstocking-like character.

But with nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. being a victim of rape, according to a recent survey by the CDC, Karneef says it's important that people think about the issue.

"I think it's a negative connection to make with fashion," the 34-year-old Montreal resident, Karneef, told ABC News. "I wanted people to think about before they went out and bought the clothes."I think they're trying to reach people that see her as a hero and my fear is they're trying to target people who aren't going to think about what's behind why she is the hero that she is," Karneef told ABC News.

"I fear people will think that what she 's been through is not a big deal. That's a prevalent line in our culture: 'Get over it.'"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Clothing Giant H&M Defends ‘Perfect’ Virtual Models

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images (NEW YORK) -- Visiting the H&M website is not the only virtual experience to be had by H&M customers who choose to order the company’s clothes online instead of inside one of their 2,300 global retail stores.

Also “completely virtual” are the models at the center of H&M’s swimsuit and lingerie online campaigns, the Swedish-based retailer confirmed.

“It’s not a real body; it is completely virtual and made by the computer,” H&M press officer Hacan Andersson told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet in an article questioning the company’s picture-perfect online models.

In the Dec. 4 article, translated into English by U.S. celebrity website Jezebel, Andersson explained the company’s approach.

“We take pictures of the clothes on a doll that stands in the shop, and then create the human appearance with a program on [a] computer,” he said.

Images from the company’s website show models wearing the latest swimsuit and lingerie looks appear in generic, stock-form with their left hand resting slightly below their waist, right arm straight and face looking directly ahead.

Advertising watchdogs in the company’s native Scandanavia elevated the controversy by criticizing the chain of lower-cost clothing stores for their generic approach to models.

The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, one of the most outspoken groups to criticize H&M, accused the chain of “creating unrealistic physical ideals.”

“This illustrates very well the sky-high aesthetic demands placed on the female body,” spokesman Helle Vaagland said.  “The demands are so great that H&M, among the poor photo models, cannot find someone with both body and face that can sell their bikinis.”

Andersonn defended the company’s decision to rely on virtual instead of real models by explaining that computer-generated bodies would ensure that the garments remain the focus of online shoppers’ attention, not the model’s bodies.

A spokeswoman for the company’s U.S. operations compared the use of virtual models online to the common retail practice of using mannequins in stores. The spokesperson confirmed Andersonn’s description of how H&M creates its virtual models, as well as the intention behind the practice, one she said is common.

Responding to the fire the company has come under in just the two days since the Aftonbladet article was published, the H&M spokesperson issued this statement to ABC: “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.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


H&M Admits to Using Fake Bodies, Real Heads as Models

Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images (BERLIN) -- The modeling world has been criticized as being fake and models' bodies as unattainable, and now clothing retailer H&M is admitting to both.

According to the German magazine Aftonbladet, the retailer uses "completely virtual" model bodies and marries those to real models' faces to sell clothes on its website.

While this doesn't explain away every jaw-dropping model working today, it certainly will heat up the body image debate and how consumers could be negatively influenced about themselves.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio