H&M under fire for featuring young model with 'messy' natural hair in new campaign

H&M is under fire for photographing a young black model with "messy" natural hair. (Photo: H&M)

H&M has come under fire by people on social media after a young black model was pictured on its site with what many felt was inappropriately styled natural hair.

A screenshot of the young girl modeling a floral printed hoodie started circulating on Twitter and Instagram on Thursday when some started noticing how her hair was left looking “messy” in a pulled back bun. One of the biggest critiques was made by celebrity hairstylist Vernon Francois, who blamed the incident on professionals who were incapable of styling black hair.

“This beautiful young girl’s #kinky hair appears to have had very little to no attention yet all of her counterparts have clearly sat in front of someone who was more [than] capable of styling other hair textures,” Francois captioned a screenshot on his Instagram. “My heart breaks imagining yet another girl from my community sitting in front of a mirror being ignored by the team around her, left to her own devices because someone didn’t know how to handle her texture.”

Video: How to Tame Your Kinky, Coily, Curly and Wavy Hair

The hairstylist to celebrities like Lupita Nyong'o and Willow Smith went on to point out that the photos had to have gone through an extensive approval process before being published on the company’s website.

“It’s breathtaking to me that not one person looked at this shot and had the same reaction that the internet seems to be feeling since the campaign broke,” he wrote. “THAT IS AN ISSUE.”

Plenty of others took to Twitter to share their thoughts about the model’s hair.

Others had a different perspective on the ad and shared screenshots of the other young girls photographed for the kids campaign — all of the young models featured had their hair sloppily pulled back or left down with some frizz.

Some even criticized those taking aim at the black model, in particular, arguing the callouts targeted specifically at her could be perpetuating the idea that her natural hair isn’t beautiful enough for the campaign while the messy look on other models hasn’t caused the same outrage.

A spokesperson for H&M provided Yahoo Lifestyle with the following statement on the photos:

We are aware of the comments regarding one of our models for H&M Kids. We truly believe that all kids should be allowed to be kids. The school-aged kids who model for us come to the photo studio in the afternoon after school and we aim for a natural look which reflects that.

This isn’t the first time that a brand has received criticism for a similar issue. J.Crew who was called out for irresponsibly styling a model’s natural hair back in November 2017.

Now, a number of Twitter users are putting their effort toward celebrating the incredible modeling opportunity for the young girl instead of criticizing her hair.

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