SinceModClothlaunched in 2002, it hasnt been your average online retailer. The site features vintage styles, high-waisted swimsuits (before they were mainstream), and models of every shape, color, and size (tattooed and untattooed).

The sites managed to remain a popular shopping destination while also avoiding common online shopping faux pas (Photoshopped thigh gaps,missing body parts, andwildly hurtful fat jokesthat were never supposed to go live). Fashion has always been a body-obsessed industry, and the Internet just made it easier to further upgrade and disseminate that imageand its something that ModCloth has been happy to avoid.

ModCloth hasnt just avoided this stigma, but proactively pushed against it. In September 2014, the company took things further withan anti-Photoshop campaign. The pledge wasnt to eschew the software altogether, but to use it for simple retouches versus digital plastic surgery.

Before this campaign, though, ModCloth had another reason for asking non-models to show off its clothes. When ModCloth first started, the decision to use non-professional models was about cost, the sites creative director, Joe DeFerrari, said via email. There wasnt money for models, so [the founder of ModCloth] Susan would invite some friends over to model & pay them with pizza.

As time went on, it became more about showing a more diverse range of women and bodies. We wanted to show our community something they could relate to and fashion they can see themselves in. If they see women that look like them, theyre more likely to understand how something might look or fit on their own bodies.

Of course, its all fun and games until your photo is the one going un-Photoshopped.

As an extension of this real-people mission, thecompany recently announceda year-long open casting call, asking people to use the hashtag #fashiontruth. Each month, ModCloth will choose someone to get a spotlight on its site (check outafewof the recent winners). When the all-lady tech team here at the Daily Dot was asked to participate, we got on board with a Sure, why not?!

On a surprisingly sunny, freezing January day in Portland, Ore., the three of us assembled, post-CESand moderately ill (which only added to how very real people we were). ModCloth sent a photographer named Kristen Cofer, and we spent the day pretending to be models, or something like it. It was about as awkward a start as you can imagine: Kristen was kind enough to let us plunk away at our keyboards until the last moment, when we threw on our garb and had no idea what we were doing.

Naturally, there were some feelings of self-consciousness; we knew these photos werent going to be overly retouched, and I cant speak for my colleagues, but I know part of me wouldnt have hated that.

I wont bore you with the details of the day (TL;DR: We walked around the most Portland of Portland neighborhoods and eventually ended up taking some lovely photos!), but afterwards I realized why this campaign and ModCloths anti-Photoshop (or, more appropriately, respect-the-Photoshop) movement is important.

See, Im trying to find a dress for an upcoming dinner event, and Im looking through ModCloth. I realize the only photos Im stopping on are those with girls in themreal girls, wearing the dress, taking mirror selfies, and writing honest reviews about the items.

I dont even think of these photos as refreshing, theyre just plain helpful. Sure, its a great way to infiltrate a superfluously edited industry, but more than anything it just makes sense. I know I appreciate seeing actual women wearing clothes Im considering buying.

Browsing the #fashiontruth photos, its clear that ModCloths mission to find real models who come in every shape and size wont be disappointed. And the rest of us will be able to see what our clothes might actually look like once we order them.

Of course, when you browse ModCloths site orFacebook photos, you will no doubt notice there are more white models with conventionally beautiful faces, and while they might not have Victorias Secret-level bodies, theyre thin-to-athletic-sized. Certainly, ModCloth doesnt defy all fashion site stereotypes, but youd be hard-pressed to find another major retailer that pays attention and showcases diversity like it does. There might be fewer plus-size, minority, and tattooed models, but there are more than Ive seen in my years of online shopping showcased in one catalog shoot.

ModCloth is an Internet-first company, and one of the Internets jobs is to democratize things that have traditionally been controlled by a hierarchy. Fashion is no exception, and ModCloth has no intentions of letting it be.

Screengrab viaModCloth/Facebook

Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/debug/modcloth-real-models-campaign/

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