Clothing giant ASOS was called out as one online shopper noticed bulldog clips holding a dress in place on its model, posting ‘Uhmm @ASOS …think you forgot to edit those clips out’ along with a photo of the offending garment. ASOS apologised sharpish, promising that it would raise the issue with its ‘specialist team’ – but twitter was quick to point out that using photos which show how its clothes actually fit might be the place to start.
The original call-out tweet, from user @xroxieanna, has since been shared more than 30,000 times. Its more forgiving replies have suggested that perhaps the model’s size wasn’t available: 'It could be cos they don’t have her size so she is wearing a size too big for her. I work in retail and if we don’t have the right size clothes for the mannequins we put on a bigger size and clip it like this, I could be wrong tho?’ wrote @je_suis_charley. While it’s not news that photoshoots are peppered with tricks of the trade, other users weren’t convinced: part of a tweet from @na_taliap read 'this is one of the biggest online retailers and you're telling me they don't have more than one size of the clothes they sell? and they don't have different sized models to show the right fit?’.
Jokes about ASOS's recently announced policy of banning ‘serial returners’ abounded, with commentators pointing out that such behaviour might be necessary if none of their clothes fit as pictured. ‘Why not clearly show how the dress fits, instead of changing it to fit in a different way than it clearly wouldn’t without the clip, definitely an idea for the specialist team’ one tweet read – a fair point, especially in light of news that ASOS shares fell 37% in December 2018. After all, if the dress you’re eyeing up is held together with ghostly bulldog clips, it’s unlikely to fall as you might hope without them.
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Women online were angry, citing the insight into ASOS photoshoots as yet another hurdle we’re up against when it comes to keeping self-esteem steady beneath the buffets of unrealistic standards and visual trickery. If the models for one of the world’s most successful clothing companies don’t have the bodies to make ASOS’s clothes look as they ‘should’, then what hope do the rest of us have? As one disgruntled twitter user wrote, ‘I always wondered why nothing ever fits even remotely close to the photos on the website…guess now we know why’. While internet usage only increases our saturation with aspirational and misleading images of beauty and bodies, occasions like this one allow us all to peep behind the curtain. Spread the word far and wide – things are seldom as they seem, especially images which are seeking to sell you something. Meanwhile, bulldog clips – Spring’s hottest new trend? Very punk.