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Nasty Gal Ads Banned in U.K. for Using Models Who Appeared 'Unhealthily Underweight'

The ASA came after the Boohoo-owned retailer after receiving 22 complaints.
Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart Wilson/Getty Images for Nasty Gal

Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Stuart Wilson/Getty Images for Nasty Gal

A trio of television ads from Nasty Gal have been banned by the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority over the model's weight and appearance. According to the ASA report, the Boohoo-owned retailer started by "#GirlBoss" creator Sophia Amoruso released a series of ads featuring a model that appeared "too slender" playing golf and tennis in workout gear, including tank tops, bikini bottoms, a dress and a skirt. The ASA ruled the model was "unhealthily underweight," and therefore "socially irresponsible," after receiving 22 complaints. 

Nasty Gal defended the use of the model, claiming she is a U.K. size 8 with a body mass index of 18.8, which sits well within the healthy range for an adult woman in accordance with the U.K.'s National Health Service guidelines. Despite this, the ASA said specific scenes "drew attention to her slimness," because of her poses: one of the ads showed the model lying on a lounge chair with outstretched arms, which "emphasized her slimness and length." Another showed the model spraying mist on herself, which zoomed in on her chest area where her "rib cage was visible and appeared prominent." 

After carefully reviewing these scenes, the ASA upheld its claim against the online fashion retailer and stated the "ads must not be broadcast again in their current form." The ASA also advised Nasty Gal to ensure that the content in their ads is prepared responsibly moving forward. 

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This isn't the first time a fashion brand has fallen afoul to the ASA: In 2016 the ASA banned a Gucci video ad on The Times website for featuring a model who was deemed unhealthily thin and had a face that appeared "gaunt," and in April 2018, online fashion retailer Motel Rocks had to remove five ads and reshoot the images, after the ASA found that the models' collarbones and shoulder blades were highly visible.

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