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Showing bodies: Calvin Klein vs. Dressman

By Mercedes

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The start of September covered the walls of the Stockholm metro with the fall 2015 campaigns. Two have been the protagonists, one for women and the other for men

I’m talking about Dressman and Calvin Klein‘s campaigns.


For this campaign, we are breaking down the stereotyped presentations of bodies in the media and advertising. The campaign aim to tackle the illusion that some bodies are more beautiful, better or more normal that – we make underwear for men, and we believe that all men are perfect. We hope that our campaign will start a conversation about who can be seen in advertising and why – an increased variety that mirrors the reality. – Dressman

Dressman is a Norwegian clothing brand with a somekind of traditional aesthetics. To show its new line of underwear, the Swedish agency Forsman & Bodefors opted for an in black and white campaign, showing men with different body types and with the slogan “The Perfect Man”. The concept while not groundbreaking (Dove spoke of “real” beauty for years) it is perhaps quite new to refer to a male subject.


The photos, made by photographer Peter Gehrke and with clear reference to Avedon’s West portraits exhibit underwear in an unorthodox way, in bodies that show the mark of time or love handles and have nothing to do with the sculpted bodies of a model.

The campaign draws attention and is a breath of fresh air, both for the quality of the photos and for the concept.




But what is more, because at the same time, Calvin Klein is showing elsewhere on the platform a Kyle Jenner at its best carrying black lingerie. Make no mistake, Jenner looks great, and of course the campaign drawns lots of attention. But is the original “sexy” truly original?.


Having lived my adolescence in Argentina, where this kind of aesthetics is very normal, I know the kind of trigger that can make this type of images in a teen mind. “You should look amazing and be extremely sexy to be desirable.” Do we still need this in 2015?


I felt that Sweden was taking a bit of a step back in its race to be one of the most egalitarian countries in the world allowing such ads in the subway. Shouldn’t we start to advertise fashion more intelligently by now? To say that Calvin Klein campaigns are über-sexualized is a bit nineties, let’s be honest. I think what bothers me is the scale of the ad and where it is placed. And perhaps, simply, that’s just plain boring.

By the way, can you imagine the campaigns being swop?


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