As many industries are facing a push for more representation from groups such as people of color and the LGBT community, an easily overlooked form of representation can be the mannequins at your local mall. It’s heard all over the news about fashion designers being urged to produce more plus-sized clothes and incorporate plus-sized models in their runway shows, yet you rarely hear a push to department stores and boutiques to use a variety of different mannequins to model the clothes they offer. Stores can use mannequins, especially female mannequins, to show customers that they are seen and to show what the stores have to offer.
Consumers come in all shapes and sizes but are continually exposed to the same mannequins to represent the whole. Particularly in the clothing industry, the petite and toned mannequins appear most frequently, showcasing only a specific type of human body. Varying the body-shapes of the mannequins is a great way to show consumers that their sizes are not only available but celebrated. A variety of body-sizes in displays allows stores to compete with online marketplaces too. If people see their sizes in stores, with the ability to try it on and see how it looks and feels in person, customers are less likely to assume stores don’t carry their sizes and go online as the default. Displaying a variety of shapes and sizes of mannequins creates a more welcoming shopping environment in an easy manner that requires little upkeep.
The same can be done by varying the colors of the mannequins. These figures allow shoppers to see clothes in a specific light: how it looks off the hanger, what it can be paired with, and its functionality as part of an outfit. Despite this important part of showcasing a product, the same plain white mannequins are used almost exclusively in the industry. The same can be done by varying the colors of the mannequins, even between just black and silver, or matte vs. glassy. The stark white figures can be unsettling in their uniformity. By playing around with different colors of their displays, companies can catch the eye of the shopper. It lets consumers now that the company has a dedication to representing them in a subtle way, and shows its playful side by not sticking to the cookie-cutter mannequin.
For stores looking to shake up their collection of mannequins, check out buying options here.