ModCloth Just Signed An Anti-Photoshopping Pledge

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As consumers, we’ve all had experiences with — and been affected by — Photoshopped images in the fashion industry. Whether it was a cover star that looked unrealistic (often the work of an overzealous or sloppy photo editor), or simply a misrepresentation of the female form, retouched photos can often be difficult to visually digest. Maybe they upset you, cause outrage, or perhaps you just find them confusing to look at, either way, scads of companies and magazines have been guilty of taking this photo editing tool a bit too far.

As a company, we certainly feel frustrated by overly Photoshopped advertisements, which is why we just became the first fashion company to sign The Heroes Pledge For Advertisers, an anti-airbrushing petition which aims to “do our best not to change the shape, size, proportion, color and/or remove/enhance the physical features, of the people in our ads in post-production.” It is a courageous movement that we were excited to get behind.

We have agreed to label images of models who have been materially Photoshopped because that’s what we all deserve — to know the truth!

+ Sound off in the comments and let us know what you think.

About Rebecca B

Rebecca is an L.A.-born (and raised!) New Yorker that now calls the Bay Area home. She lives on the Internet, still hearts ‘90s gangster rap, and does some of her best vintage shopping in her mom’s closet. Also: These are not her glasses.


31 Responses to ModCloth Just Signed An Anti-Photoshopping Pledge

  1. tche1478 08/13/2014 at 11:51 am #

    This is awesome. I thank you ladies. I’m tired of photo-shopped images. It creates unrealistic expectations as we all strive to look like something that doesn’t really exist. We need to learn to be happy with the bodies we have.

  2. Elizabeth Carroll (@wayfarer72) 08/13/2014 at 12:07 pm #

    Finally! You guys are so awesome! You already do a great job, and this will just make ModCloth that much better! I really don’t have body image issues, but many of my friends are affected, and I hate to see them hurting! So proud of you!

  3. Julia 08/13/2014 at 12:53 pm #

    I appreciate the commitment, and have an additional request: it would be wonderful to see some of your larger models in the cute little video clips you have for many of your pieces. I appreciate being able to see the dresses in motion, but it would be fab to sometimes see how they fall on a bigger/curvier body!

    Thanks for all you do, love the site.

  4. Lauren 08/13/2014 at 6:05 pm #

    Eh, I guess I’ll throw in my negative comment as a photographer who is delving into the retouching world. While I do agree that excessive photoshop when it comes to portraying a realistic image is a bad thing, photoshop itself is not bad and I don’t like how a lot of people blame photoshop. It’s the people who use photoshop that are “bad”.

    Photoshop is a great tool, especially when fixing mistakes that could have been fixed in real life. One example: sometimes I’ll slim down the arms of a person if I forgot to have them lift their shoulders away from their body … because when your arm is pressed flat against you, it makes your arm bigger. In that instance, I use photoshop to fix the mistakes I made on set. That’s just one example of many, including those of lighting, posing, poor wardrobe color choices, etc.

    All that to say, please don’t make photoshop the bad guy.
    BUT I will say that due to the stereotype of photoshop, good on you guys for saying no to it. Showing what people actually look like will be a positive image, definitely. And besides, you guys are probably better at posing and lighting than I am. :)

    • MonicaP 08/14/2014 at 2:32 pm #

      I agree .. I mean if a gal has a blemish and you can fix it in photo shop .. well, fix it! LoL.

      I think photo shop is fine for those little things .. but when a whole body is re-created, slimmed down etc. then the person using the program has gone too far. Blame the user not the product.


    • Izzy Labbe 08/14/2014 at 6:21 pm #

      But why are “bigger arms” bad? What’s wrong with being big? And what’s wrong with having an occasional zit? By “erasing” normal human body parts and “flaws”, we’re teaching a generation of girls and women that their bodies aren’t right.

      • Lauren 08/19/2014 at 8:01 am #

        Not saying bigger arms are bad. I should add that when people are moving around and such, you don’t notice all the blemishes or the brief moments your arms squish against your sides. The camera is harsh when it comes to freezing those things, because it then forces people to look at those little blemishes. As for zits and other things of that nature, if it’s not a permanent part of someone, I’ll get rid of it. A zit is there one day and gone the next. So photoshop is good because it gives the illusion of what we see in real life. Does that make sense?

        But I’m just one person with one opinion, and I do agree that many, many people take photoshop too far. And I do agree that much of what we see today teaches people the wrong thing about body image. If photoshop is used in moderation, then it’s a very great tool. (And keep in mind that I’m talking strictly from an advertising/lifestyle standpoint … fine art photography is a whole different conversation, haha.)

      • Lindsay 08/22/2014 at 6:07 am #

        Not gonna open the “body size” can of worms but a zit is a literal infection. It’s something our body does naturally, true, and everyone gets them, yes, but they’re gross. It’s a small skin infection and when looking at cute clothes takes away from their marketability and appeal. If you have a zit, it means something is wrong, and so it is a literal “flaw.”

  5. Nadia 08/13/2014 at 6:18 pm #

    Seriously, this made me feel so proud of being a ModCloth fan! I’m a proud size 10 and I love cute clothes, which shouldn’t be hard to find for curvy girls like me… Or any girl at all! :)

  6. Veda 08/13/2014 at 8:03 pm #

    You guys rock !!

  7. Hope Perri 08/13/2014 at 9:16 pm #

    I absolutely love this! Makes me want to shop from Modcloth even more. Real women buy your clothes so real women should be in the ads of your clothes! Thank you so much for this amazing step!!

  8. Poly 08/13/2014 at 9:20 pm #

    will they let the models model with no make up if they choose they don’t want to wear make up??? I’m wondering…

  9. Sydney Duprey 08/13/2014 at 9:45 pm #

    All the props to this company that not only is well-stocked in every size they can get their hands on, they also make sure to include plus-size models in photo shoots , showing that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

  10. Charlie 08/13/2014 at 10:08 pm #

    Good on you! Real people rule!!

  11. Kelly 08/14/2014 at 5:14 am #

    I cannot say how impressed and happy I am that you are doing this. I am SO disappointed in the fashion industry and how it has devolved to portraying real women as fake, plastic, perfect – and creates the impression that all of us should be dissatisfied with ourselves until we are just like a photoshopped misrepresentation of reality. I don’t blame photoshop (as the previous commenter has suggested), but I DO blame a series of decisions by photo editors that has brought us to this sad state. I AM SO GLAD, modcloth, that you are saying NO to this destructive trend and giving us a chance to see real women, real beauty, and be inspired by truth and not photoshopped fiction. What was my favourite fashion website is now off-the-charts awesome. Thank you thank you thank you!

  12. Apryl Dailey 08/14/2014 at 6:34 am #

    Bravo! <3 Glad we will be seeing realistic content on your website!

  13. Mima 08/14/2014 at 7:44 am #

    I think that what you did is awesome.

  14. Alexandra Marie 08/14/2014 at 9:26 am #

    SO cool- you guys are the best! <3 Alex

  15. Izzy Labbe 08/14/2014 at 6:19 pm #

    Hi, Modcloth~

    A lot of people don’t understand the true dangers of Photoshop. Digitally altering women’s bodies creates an unrealistic beauty standard that girls and women are constantly bombarded with, and strive to achieve. But because it’s impossible to look like a photoshopped model, girls can turn to dangerous methods of “bettering” themselves, including eating disorders. As a teenage girl, I constantly see my peers indoctrinated by unhealthy beauty standards established by the media.

    A few years ago, when I was a 13-year-old eighth grader, I was part of a petition by the girl-led women’s organization SPARK Movement ( that asked “Seventeen Magazine” to release one un-retouched photo spread a month. The petition was a success, and “Seventeen” published a Body Peace Treaty in their July 2012 issue that vowed to never digitally retouch girls’ face or body shapes. Ever since the “Seventeen” petition, I’ve been striving to create a world in which Photoshop is exposed for what it is- dangerous, and unnecessary.

    Thank you for signing this contract. Although I have an extensive background in activism and have learned a lot about body image, most 16-year-olds are uneducated about just how many images they see that are digitally altered, and what the dangers of Photoshop really are. By agreeing to not Photoshop, you have made a huge difference in the world. I hope that other online retailers take your example!

  16. llamacas 08/15/2014 at 8:56 am #

    Thank you modcloth for taking the pledge.

  17. Patricia 08/15/2014 at 5:17 pm #

    Yay! Yet another reason to love Modcloth so much

  18. autum 08/16/2014 at 7:28 pm #

    Love this! I’m already a big modcloth junkie this just makes it even better. Thanks guys.

  19. Kathy Dannel Vitcak 08/16/2014 at 10:49 pm #

    Thank you so much for taking this bold step! Photoshop is a wonderful tool. But like so mant tools it can be misused. I agree with the previous comments, it isn’t the took…it is the intention of those who use it!

  20. april taylor 08/16/2014 at 11:22 pm #


  21. Kathryn 08/17/2014 at 8:58 am #

    This is awesome! Show us the truth!

  22. Liza D. 08/18/2014 at 10:30 am #

    I think this is a positive step. And that there’s a happy medium.

    Models are employed to make garments appealing and attractive to potential buyers. Models portray an ideal, not reality. The question is what we, as a society, want that ideal to be? Thin to the point of brittle anorexia? Or “realistic” to the point where diabetes and heart disease is a genuine concern? I’d say that neither is socially responsible.

    There has to be a reasonable midpoint between today’s emaciated (by nature or Photoshop) models and our overweight reality. Both are unhealthy. Neither should not be recommended to young women as desirable.

    How about using healthy, fit young women with a range of body types? Neither emaciated nor overweight, but with their unique shapes and bodily quirks left intact? Don’t airbrush, lengthen, smooth, or redistribute, unless you do it with control garments and makeup — available to all! I think that’s where this Photoshopping pledge comes in and could do the most good.

  23. Kelly 08/19/2014 at 12:44 pm #

    *love this*

  24. Amber 08/19/2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Thank you for making this pledge. This is great move forward in terms of truth in advertising.

    Liza D. – Just because someone is overweight does not mean they are unhealthy. Similarly, just because someone is thin doesn’t mean they are healthy. This is an archaic and uninformed way of thinking.

  25. Becky 08/20/2014 at 5:51 pm #

    As if I needed another reason to love you guys! (And I DO love you guys!)

  26. Laura 08/21/2014 at 7:06 am #

    Great news! Think I’ll buy a dress from ModCloth today to celebrate.

  27. jachancellor 08/23/2014 at 10:46 am #

    I heard about this on GMA, and this was the main reason I came to your website to purchase!! I will continue to support Modcloth as a company, and will encourage others to do so as well. Awesome!

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