If there’s one thing with the power to dent even the most rock-solid body confidence, it’s swimwear shopping. Trying on bikinis in a sweaty high-street changing room can be hellish enough (why is the lighting so bad, so often?), but shopping online isn’t necessarily easier. Even if you find a piece you like, it’s often impossible to tell if it will suit you – because the model in the photo looks about as much like you as a parrot resembles a pocket watch.
As a result, ASOS has been receiving high praise for featuring photos of swimwear models with stretchmarks.
On Twitter, social media users commended the online fashion retailer for representing different body types.
“I’ve never ever seen a model with stretchmarks and I needed it,” wrote @tragiccolorsx. “@ASOS thank you.”
“Thank you @ASOS for showing the world what reality is!” agreed @bryhemedinger. “Stretchmarks are real life and everyone has them. We appreciate the no retouching!”
However, others have questioned why ASOS has seemingly not hired plus-size models with stretchmarks. At the time of writing, the retailers’ plus-size swimwear options were modelled by just two women – neither of whom have visible stretchmarks.
“Let’s see when ASOS will put a fat woman w/ stretchmarks then start celebrating,” said @xanpireslayer.
When contacted by stylist.co.uk, a spokeswoman for ASOS highlighted the retailer’s corporate responsibility manifesto, which asserts that the site only employs “models who are a healthy weight and shape” and rarely airbrushes any of its photos.
“It is important to us to find models that our increasingly diverse and international customer base can relate to,” reads the manifesto.
“We do not artificially adjust photographs of models to change their appearance. When we retouch images, we do so to ensure the product in the image looks more like the real product, which usually involves aligning the colour more closely.”