More and more retailers are beginning to see the light when it comes to mannequins. As in, customers want to see ones that resemble real humans not headless aliens. David's Bridal spearheaded the movement with a January announcement that the brand would begin using mannequins with varied and realistically human shapes. Now JCPenney is following suit with mannequins modeled after actual people. And they're pretty damn cool.
The mannequins are currently on display at JCPenney's store in the Manhattan Mall through the summer and were created back in April as part of the Today Show's "Love Your Selfie" project. Each of the five mannequins was modeled after a real-life person you could theoretically hang out with — Dawna Callahan, who is in a wheelchair due to partial paralysis; Neil Duncan, a former Army paratrooper who lost parts of his legs in Afghanistan; plus-size mother Beth Ridgeway; a college basketball player named Desiree Hunter; and Ricardo Gil, a man with dwarfism. This is what we mean when we talk about body diversity in fashion retail.
JCPenney has adopted the mannequins for the brand's "When it fits you feel it" campaign. The slogan is awkward, but I applaud the company's use of these truly unique and special mannequins. "We felt like this was a great opportunity to really make sure we were helping showcase the important subject of body image," Debra Berman, senior vice president of marketing at JCPenney, told Today.
So far the customer response has been overwhelmingly positive, which comes as no surprise. Who wouldn't be pleased by mannequins that paint an accurate picture of what people look like? JCPenney has struggled to change with the times with little success, but this is a definite step in the right direction.
Here's hoping a creepy, unrealistic mannequins are becoming a thing of the past!