ModCloth Just Signed An Anti-Photoshopping Pledge


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.

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  1. Avatar
    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. Avatar
    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. Avatar
    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.

    • Avatar
      Maggie 11/07/2014 at 9:17 am #

      I totally agree with Julia! Would love to see more plus-size girls in the spotlight 🙂

    • Avatar
      Mary 04/14/2015 at 3:56 pm #

      I totally agree with Julia, too! I’d love to see videos of your larger models. I’ve had problems with finding my right size on Modcloth as sizes seem to be all over the map. Some dresses I’ve ordered I’d swear is really a Junior size. I wear a size 14 from like JcPenney, ect. But have found that some 1X, mostly 2X and believe it or not some dresses it took a 3X to fit my curves. I decided when a long time ago not to worry about size and go with comfort, but it still is frustrating when I have to order dresses I want in 3 sizes, which also necessitates a return of the extras that don’t work. I also think others must have found this same phenomenon as it seems like 2X is the first size that sells out of most dresses.

  4. Avatar
    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. 🙂

    • Avatar
      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.


    • Avatar
      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.

      • Avatar
        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.)

      • Avatar
        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. Avatar
    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! 🙂

    • Avatar
      Suzie Q 10/08/2014 at 4:38 pm #

      Size 10?? That’s tiny in the real world. I would love to order on this site, but my size 40DD top doesn’t match with my 36 hips

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

    You guys rock !!

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

    Good on you! Real people rule!!

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

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

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

    I think that what you did is awesome.

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

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

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

    Thank you modcloth for taking the pledge.

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

    Yay! Yet another reason to love Modcloth so much

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


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

    This is awesome! Show us the truth!

  22. Avatar
    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.

    • Avatar
      Julie Stewart 09/19/2014 at 5:43 pm #

      Moderation is key; you are right about how we need a happy medium. Some of all sizes!

      While I appreciate the need for larger sized models and pictures, there is also a need for thin models and pictures because some of us really are on the thin side. I don’t have curves or hips, and I am very small boned…boys’ jeans fit me better than women’s jeans. It’s hard to guess what will work and what will just hang on me like a sad wilted sack. So how about some of both – plus sized, medium sized, and skinny sized? BTW it’s a myth than tall, thin women can “wear anything.” Not true. Low necked dresses just show my “rack of ribs.”

      When it comes to representing women’s bodies in clothing, one of the most underrepresented groups has to be muscular/athletic women. I am a tall endurance runner, and some of the short dresses on ModCloth are cute but hit me in such a way that my legs just look all sinewy, not feminine in the least. They really are anatomical looking, not in a good way. It’s not the same as being thin like a model. My calves are about the same diameter as my thighs.

      I really love that my body has such stamina and strength, but it’s not the most girlish, so I have a hard time finding clothes I like generally. The odds with ModCloth are better than average. Your styles are so feminine that I feel like I look feminine in them. Seeing realistic models cheers me up, too. it’s not depressing like reading a fashion magazine. Keep it up.

      • Avatar
        B 11/07/2014 at 6:20 pm #

        I agree. Though I’m totally naturally skinny, not athletic at all, and short. I actually would like to see more women like me as models. Not athletic skinny but just plain old regular skinny. Everyone assumes I have no body issues. Well I do. I cry shopping for swimsuits and standard size 0 in stores don’t fit me (thanks vanity sizing). Some really pretty lacy bras don’t even come in size 32A. I don’t see why not. I’m still a woman, just with a small rack. And I get really sad when people describe my body or as “boyish” or “athletic”. I am neither.

        Thank goodness for alternative shops and websites like MC and for PUG and RB style clothing, that while looks amazing on curvy girls, creates curves for me that I don’t naturally have. Anyway just putting a different perspective out there. Skinny girls hurt too …

    • Avatar
      Betha 09/22/2014 at 5:05 pm #

      You know, there have been times in my life when I have been very overweight — mostly about the first 6 -9 months after having a baby. then I get back close to my pre-pregnancy size. So during that time, my “overweight”-ness has nothing to do with being unhealthy, rather my body recovering from pregnancy. So are you saying that I should not be represented by models that reflect this time in the natural course of life? and then there is my mother, who through no fault of her own, was frequently very ill, so she had a tendency to go through periods of looking like a”brittle anorexia”. I guess she should also feel ashamed and not expect to find clothes that would look nice on her? I feel your whole statement is very judgmental, lacking in compassion, and very soap-boxy. Everyone has challenges, for some that is their weight. Merely depicting images that say “hey, we understand where you are at right now, no shame!!!” is not the same as promoting unhealthy body images. What the fashion industry typically does is depict ONLY one body type instead of representing many.

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

    *love this*

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

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

    • Avatar
      Hailey 04/07/2015 at 3:47 pm #

      Haha! I LOVE this idea!

  27. Avatar
    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!

  28. Avatar
    gale 09/21/2014 at 6:18 am #

    This is fantastic. I heard about this through and I am so pleased to be a ModCloth shopper. Now I have even more reasons to support this awesome company.

  29. Avatar
    Shea 09/24/2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Women have a natural fierceness to their own unique beauty. I fully commend the hearts of the people here who have begun a movment to change the fashion industry. Clothes mean nothing, if you can’t imbrace the body that is in them. I hope to join the movment one day by creating a magazine that embraces not only the photoshop free movement, but also embraces all types of beautiful women.

  30. Avatar
    meta 09/29/2014 at 6:17 pm #

    So sick of people using photoshop as a verb to describe dozens of post processes without knowing what theyre actually talking about. And so sick of people blaming the fashion world for their own problems.
    Im a big girl, ive had my issues, but im also a photographer and im so tired of the negative impact people are putting on the industry.
    Beautiful women exist, and yes, some women look better than others. Deal with it. Stop trying to act like everyone is the same and stop trying to put fault on retouchers for DOING THEIR JOB. You can retouch a photo without changing someones appearance. As a good photographer, your goal is to capture potential in a persons beauty, not juat freeze them the way they are in a split second.

    Next thing you know, we wont be allowed to use proper cameras and lenses or even whiten teeth.

    This is ridiculous.

    Im so disappointed in you guys. I stopped reading Seventeen for the same reason. Those ignorant girls who decided they couldnt bear to deal with their own insecurities and blamed an entire magazine. Now you. Ill never purchase anything through modcloth.

    • Avatar
      Hailey 04/07/2015 at 3:52 pm #

      While I understand what you are saying, their promise was 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.”

      They didn’t vow to abstain from photoshop, as you suggest.

      I love shopping at ModCloth. Feel free to boycott—I’ll be over here, enjoying the cute styles, great sales, awesome reviews, free returns, and pictures of beautiful (and still real) models!

  31. Avatar
    Frances 10/22/2014 at 7:07 am #

    It’s great to read this, and I applaud you, ModCloth, if this is really true. However, I’m not convinced that your preview images are completely free from manipulation. I’m thinking specifically of the previews for your plus-size lingerie. I have always assumed that the waistline on these images has been slimmed and smoothed – and been mildly annoyed by it – as to me the model looks to have a unrealistic waist-hip ratio. Can you assure me that this isn’t the case, and that I’m actually completely wrong about what is realistic?!

  32. Avatar
    f 10/23/2014 at 1:23 pm #

    Not even remotely an issue I care about.

  33. Avatar
    lisa b 11/19/2014 at 5:55 pm #


  34. Avatar
    Chantal 11/23/2014 at 5:00 pm #

    Go Modcloth! Thanks for pledging to tone down the photo editing and to let us know when you do choose to utilize those tools. I really do love this company, its positive attitude towards all its clients, and the fact that you strive to offer fashionable options for ladies of every shape and size. And as an aside, I am certainly more likely to purchase clothing I see worn by a less visually perfect model – In the end *I* want to be the one wearing that dress, and while I am awesome, I am not perfect. Show me what an awesome person looks like in that outfit.

  35. Avatar
    bubbasue 02/16/2015 at 5:06 pm #

    So proud to shop at ModCloth because of this. Can’t wait to see a variety of models on your pages as the future unfolds! xoxo

  36. Avatar
    Josie 03/05/2015 at 2:20 am #

    You gals are awesome! There are many of us gals out there who have a low self esteem already. I use to be thin and after my pregnancy I’ve been having a difficult time trying to look cute and fun, not to mention appropriate for my age of 34. Sometimes I wish I had my own stylists and designer at hand…lol. Anyways, you gals rock!

  37. Avatar
    Grizelle 03/11/2015 at 6:13 am #

    Kudos, ModCloth! Inspiring Change one day at a time 🙂

  38. Avatar
    Dana 03/25/2015 at 9:11 pm #

    Glad this is happening! I’m FED UP with photoshopping and struggle with finding clothing that works for work/play, can fit my very specific body shape, and that isn’t modeled by someone whose body has been edited for fashion instead of helping me figure out what the dress will look like on my body.

    Also – I love the fact that when shopping we can see photos of “normal people” who took selfies or the like! I was a bit hesitant to purchase from the company until I knew if your efforts were legit. Now I’m on board.

    Love the fact that you’re leading by example!

  39. Avatar
    Kels 04/07/2015 at 10:44 am #

    I’m so glad to read this today – I was just reading through some reviews and way too many of them said things like “this will fit great when I lose 10lbs”. As a seamstress and sometimes stylist, I’m constantly telling people that the clothes are the problem, not the body.


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