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Does Naomi Campbell *Really* Need This Much Photoshop?

naomi campbell photoshop bazaar vietnam

Image: FashionGoneRogue

The last few times we've posted stories calling out magazines or brands for gratuitously using Photoshop, I've noticed more and more readers speaking out in defense of the practice. Many of you agree with the Nick Knight statement on airbrushing: "If you want reality, look out the window."

naomi campbell photoshop bazaar vietnam

Image: FashionGoneRogue

Clearly Photoshop and the fashion industry aren't breaking up anytime soon, but I think most of us would agree that there are good and bad ways to use the technique. If you're airbrushing an image to create an aesthetic effect, that's one thing, but completely distorting a person's body so that it better conforms to a boring standard of perfection has nothing to do with creativity. Of course, media producers are always going to use some amount of airbrushing to make images aspirational and to present a fantasy, but shouldn't there be limits? How much Photoshop is too much Photoshop?

Consider these images of Naomi Campbell, which are from Harper's Bazaar Vietnam's June issue. One tFSer called out the one on the right: "They usually Photoshop Naomi a lot in magazines, but I think they went too far with this one." And indeed, Campbell's skin glows like plastic and her already-big lips are comically swollen. The supermodel is one of the world's most beautiful women; does she really need to be made beautiful-er? Do her pixels really need so much smoothing and rearranging?

[Images via FashionGoneRogue]

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American Apparel’s Tumblr Is So Porny, and Not Just Because of the Brand’s Advertising

american apparel ad 2007 topless

Image: americanapparel.tumblr.com

American Apparel aligns its brand with pornography more blatantly than any other retailer I can think of — and that's been the case for years. Take the ad above, which ran in 2007: I'm sure I don't need to point out the boobs, which aren't just there — lazily hanging around like lifeless props, as they do in some advertising — but are made titillating (sry) through the erotic act of undressing. That ad is all about the boobs, even though it's selling a vest. However you feel about American Apparel's porny ads (as well as the repeated sexual harassment allegations against the company's CEO and founder, Dov Charney), there's no denying that these campaigns have attracted a lot of attention and helped the brand secure its position as one of America's most ubiquitous clothing retailers. (By December 2010, AA had expanded to 273 locations.)

Although American Apparel's "sex sells" approach has helped the brand in many ways, the notoriety hasn't always worked to the company's advantage: Not everyone wants to buy clothing from a company whose image and, if by some accounts, company culture is rooted in the exploitation and objectification of women.

A slogan I saw at the American Apparel on east Houston Street last weekend seemingly acknowledged the squeamishness some people may feel about shopping there: "We may not be politically correct, but our ethics are good." The sentence (as I remember it) was plastered on the wall in giant block letters near the entrance. Although there's nothing more annoying than a person or a brand shrugging off legitimate concerns as "politically correct" minutia, I was struck by the accuracy of the slogan. American Apparel's advertising, brand and approach is ridiculous and offensive (again, setting aside the allegations against founder Charney, since we're talking about the business as a whole), but as a clothing company, AA operates in a fairly ethical way, especially compared to its fashion industry peers:

  1. Manufacturing in the U.S.: According to the company, the average American Apparel factory worker earns $25,000 a year, which is not exactly a comfortable income, but is above the poverty line. (By comparison, the minimum wage in Bangladesh was recently raised to $68 a month, which means the average factory worker will take home $816 annually.) 
  2. Reasonable prices: You'll pay more for a dress at American Apparel than you would at Forever 21, but given the solid quality of most items and decent factory working conditions, the prices seem fair. (Compare this pair of sparkly American Apparel stockings, which go for $17, to this $1300 pair of Saint Laurent tights.)
  3. Wearable basics: Although American Apparel is notorious for its bad 80s acid trip neon offerings — "American Apparel will make you look like a fat hooker," Jezebel proclaimed in a widely-read piece in 2008 — the bulk of the retailer's inventory is made up of seasonless staples: T-shirts, bodysuits, sweaters, simple skirts and dresses, all available in a wide variety of colors. 

american apparel ad topless

Image: AmericanApparel.Tumblr.com

American Apparel is doing a lot of things right, so why hasn't its advertising advanced past the same boring porny bullshit the brand has been churning for years? Yes, the company made a couple of highly-publicized strides in a different direction (such as its plus-size model contest, which snubbed the real winner of the contest for her satirical entry photos), but all in all, most American Apparel ads are just more of the same. (The photo pictured on the right is dated February 2014 and captioned, "Marissa wearing the Angeleno Jacket.")

And to make matters worse, the company apparently has no desire to pivot away from the easy sex stuff, even now that American Apparel has established itself as one of the country's biggest fashion brands. The retailer's Tumblr, for example, doesn't even restrain itself to posting nekkid brand advertising — a significant portion of the content is just unambiguous porn. Some selections (nsfw, of course): a woman performing oral sex, a man sucking on a woman's breast and fondling her genitals, more genital fondling. You get the point, I'm sure. 

Of course, Tumblr's dirty little secret is that a big chunk of its traffic comes for the site's many porn blogs, so American Apparel is possibly just trying to fit in with the community. Still, it's depressing that they're not even trying. If the company really wants to persuade skeptics that its heart is in the right place, it might have to work harder to engage with its customers. Not all of us are so easily impressed by boobs.

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Link Buzz: Topshop x Ashish Lands; Scout Willis Protests Instagram’s Anti-Nipples Policy

ashish x topshop collaboration

Image: Topshop.com

  • The Topshop x Ashish collection has landed and we'll have one of each, please. [Topshop]
     
  • Just in case you're getting married tomorrow and you need something to wear, this may help. [FabSugar]
     
  • Sweaty hair is a state of mind. [BellaSugar]
     
  • James Marsden, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell will all present at the CFDA Awards. [WWD]
     
  • Alexander Wang's greatest achievement may be this fro-yo truck, and that's not a dig. [Racked]
     
  • Finally, someone created a Tinder for seniors. [Vice]
     
  • Scout Willis chooses her battles wisely. [Elle]

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Marchesa to Stage Spring 2015 Show in London

Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig

Alberto Reyes/WENN.com

Marchesa designers Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig are packing up and heading across the pond for their Spring 2015 show. The label is celebrating its 10-year anniversary by staging its runway show during London Fashion Week, right in the designers' native U.K.

Don't get too excited Londoners, Chapman and Craig say the move is a one-time thing, and by next February Marchesa will be back in New York. There are still no details as to the date and venue of the label's 10th anniversary show, but watch this space as information leaks out!

[via WWD]

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This New Model Looks Like a Cross Between Gemma Ward and Vlada (Forum Buzz)

Not everyone believes in doppelgangers, but members of the tFS forums often deliver good proof that they do exist. In an aptly named thread called “Models Who Look Alike,” members post comparisons between models who often have more than just a few facial features in common. 

Kate Konlin @ IMG

image credit: Instagram @imgmodelsdevelopmentjenirose via the tfs forums

But the most astounding case of doppelgangerism I came across recently was while browsing the female model threads in the forums. New model Kate Konlin looks eerily like sorely missed retired supermodel Gemma Ward. The Israeli newcomer is signed with IMG Worldwide, Ward’s former agency. I cannot imagine that whoever discovered her did not notice the similarities. 

As *Bianca*, who created the thread for the new face, pointed out, Kate also bears resemblance to another hugely popular model from the so-called doll-faced models era: Vlada Roslyakova.

Is it going to help Kate’s modeling career that she reminds everyone so much of the two named models? Or is it going to be a problem that her look is not actually entirely unique? I don't think it will be possible for anyone to look at her and not immediately think of Gemma and Vlada. But with model stans everywhere in the world still yearning for a comeback of Ward and it not happening anytime soon, they might find a good replacement in Ms. Konlin. I am certainly intrigued. Let us know what you think!

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Flashback: UK Vogue April 2005 with Gisele Bundchen by Patrick Demarchelier

"She is everywhere," commented GlamorousBoy in the latest Lui magazine thread featuring Gisele Bundchen on the cover of the June 2014 issue. He's right! The Brazilian model is everywhere at the present moment, so it's only fitting that we reflect back on one of Bundchen's previous covers for this week's flashback series.

I decided to dig the April 2005 issue of UK Vogue out of my stack today, trying hard to remember what the cover actually looked like. It's very pink, yet effortlessly beautiful. Gisele is photographed by Patrick Demarchelier wearing a silk dress from Ralph Lauren, which was styled by Katie Felstead.

Flashback UK Vogue April 2005 Gisele Bundchen

IMAGE CREDIT: MARK E

After having a quick leaf through the magazine, I'm surprised Gisele doesn't have a set of pictures inside. However, Demarchelier does shoot a fashion story with models Valentina Zelyaeva, Mona Johansson and Lindsay Ellingson. The 12-page story consists of the three models wearing outfits with a mix of subtle influences, decorative accessories and a hint of animal print. You cannot beat a good Demarchelier studio shoot and this one oozes timeless elegance.

Inside the 336-page issue, we get editorials from Paolo Roversi with Lily Cole, Carter Smith shoots Erin Wasson, and Corrine Day photographs a radiant, energetic and youthful Natasha Poly.

Why don't you check out the issue's thread on our forums, here? You might just find a forgotten favorite.

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