High street favourite H & M have been slammed by doctors after their latest summer campaign features an alarmingly tanned model.
Cancer experts have said that the retail giants have irresponsibly advertised their new swimwear collection by using a model with an incredibly deep bronzed appearance. The adverts have been used across Europe in magazines, on TV, on billboards, as well as the company’s website.
The model at the centre of the controversy is 28 year old Brazilian model, Isabeli Fontana. It is not yet clear how the model achieved her deep tan, doctors are unsure whether it was from fake tan or whether she achieved it by lying in the sun. However, it seems that either way, the company is being accused of promoting an unhealthy and potentially life threatening approach to safety in the sun.
Dr Ralph Braun, from the Early Skin Cancer Centre at Zurich University Hospital, said: ‘I find this advertisement very alarming and borderline.
‘Many people, especially the young, will try to emulate this and will try to be just as brown, although with some skin types this is just not possible.’ Swiss Cancer League spokeswoman Cornelia Egli said: ‘This completely contradicts our advertising efforts.
H&M have been quick to defend the campaign and told the Swiss press they chose a model with darker skin in order to best show the strong colours on sale this season. They claim Fontana, the model featured in the controversial campaign, was selected for her naturally dark skin and that her Brazilian nationality is another contributing factor.
However, pictures published of the model appearing in other campaigns show her with a considerably lighter skin tone. Representatives for H & M went on to say, “Of course we think that this is an important subject, however the aim with our campaign is to show our swimwear collection, which we think that Isabeli Fontana is doing in a good and inspiring way,”
Inspirational or not, there is no denying that in order to achieve a tan like Isabeli’s in the campaign, one would be putting themselves at high risk of burns and more seriously, skin cancers.
The story comes just a few weeks after a New Jersey mother was summoned to court after her 5 year old daughter was subjected to dangerous UV rays as a result of accompanying her mother whilst she used a sunbed. The mother is now facing charges after police said she brought her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth.
It caused the girl to suffer burns to her body, according to the Essex County prosecutor’s office. Patricia Krentcil, who herself is very tanned, was charged with second-degree child endangerment. No one under the age of 14 is allowed to use a tanning booth, according to New Jersey state law.
Krentcil, 44, told The Associated Press her daughter got sunburned by being outside on a recent warm day. She said her daughter, however, had mentioned to school officials when she complained of itching that she had been to a tanning salon with her mother.