Style: PrettyLittleThing ad taken down for 'sexualising' child model

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PrettyLittleThing featured the ad on their website in June (Picture: PLT) © Provided by Metro PrettyLittleThing featured the ad on their website in June (Picture: PLT)

PrettyLittleThing ‘sexualised’ a child TikTok model for one of their campaigns, the advertising watchdog has ruled.

Alabama Barker was just aged 16 when the fast fashion retailer featured her in a series of sexually suggestive poses and clothing.

The Advertising Standards Association (ASA) warned the company to ensure that future ads do not include images that ‘portrayed or represented anyone who was, or seemed to be, under 18 in a sexual manner’.

The controversial photos appeared on PrettyLittleThing’s website in June, with the newest brand ambassador modelling her Y2K Edit clothing collection.

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‘Channel that teen dream realness with barely-there micro mini skirts,’ the text on the ad said.

A series of images showed the young girl wearing a tight-fitting short dress while sucking a lollipop.

She is pictured wearing high heels and a low-cut short dress revealing her breasts, while spraying a water hose, clutching her chest with one hand, and posing with her leg bent wearing a mini skirt and knee-high boots.

One page said: ‘Nail the latest trends and team a cropped varsity jacket with a mini skirt and knee-high boots for a date with your best dolls or flaunt your curves in a white figure-hugging dress.’

Rules prohibiting the sexualisation of under-18s, and those who appear to be in that age gap, in advertising were brought in 2017.

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The brand, which works with influencers like Molly-Mae Hague, markets itself to young consumers (Picture: Getty/Pretty Little Thing) © Provided by Metro The brand, which works with influencers like Molly-Mae Hague, markets itself to young consumers (Picture: Getty/Pretty Little Thing)

A complainant, who believed Ms Barker was only 16, challenged whether the ad was in breach of these regulations.

Her age at the time was confirmed by PrettyLittleThing, who said they wanted to convey a message of body positivity to encourage and empower young women to embrace their bodies and inspire confidence.

The firm said it did not intend to sexualise the TikToker and disagreed that she was portrayed in a sexual manner.

They added that the ad was approved by her and she was posed in a similar style to images on her own Instagram account.

Upholding the complaint, the ASA said a number of Ms Barker’s poses and text references were likely to be considered as sexual.

Meanwhile, the phrase ‘channel that teen dream realness’ further highlighted her young age.

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‘Given the above, we considered that the ad depicted a person who was under 18 in a sexual way, and we therefore concluded it was irresponsible and breached the code,’ the watchdog said.

Metro.co.uk has contacted PrettyLittleThing for a comment.

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