January 28, 2014 2:30 pm

Get real: Mannequins are getting tattoos, back fat and pubic hair

In this Dec. 17, 2013 photo, David's Bridal senior vice president Michele von Plato shows a plus-size mannequin during an interview in New York. David’s Bridal, the nation’s largest bridal chain, started changing its fit mannequins used to create gowns to reflect the average body.

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Note: This post contains an image that some readers may find offensive. 

TORONTO – A number of retailers and campaigns are taking aim at the ideals portrayed by the run-of-the-mill store mannequin.

In an effort to make mannequins look more like the women who shop in the stores, retailers are experimenting with a range of mannequins – a departure from the ubiquitous stick-thin, pale, tall and faceless figures usually lining store windows.

Earlier this month, U.S. clothing retailer American Apparel caused a mini controversy when it showcased mannequins with pubic hair in its downtown New York City store.

A couple looks at a mannequin with pubic hair in the window of an American Apparel shop on Houston Street in the Soho section of Manhattan Jan. 17, 2014 in New York.

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

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The retailer, known for controversial and provocative ad campaigns, said it was simply celebrating “natural beauty” – and trying to sell lingerie, in the run up to Valentine’s Day.

In December, a Swiss campaign that featured store mannequins modelled after people with disabilities went viral.

The “Because who is perfect” YouTube video was created for International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Shot by director Alain Gsponer, the mannequins were molded in 3D images after real people in hopes of “encouraging reflection on the acceptance of disability.”

READ MORE: Mannequins depicting people with disabilities in ‘Because who is perfect?’ campaign goes viral

The “Because who is perfect? Get closer’ campaign captures the reaction of people as mannequins modeled after people with disabilities are displayed in store windows.

Alexandra Wey/Photopress

Meanwhile, Wings Beachwear’s mannequins in Miami are sporting tattoos like some of the women who shop at the store.

At David’s Bridal, mannequins soon will get thicker waists, saggier breasts and back fat to mimic a more realistic shape.

In this Dec. 17, 2013 photo, David’s Bridal dressmaker Noel Belancourt, wheels a plus-size mannequin to his workstation in New York. David’s Bridal, the nation’s largest bridal chain, started changing its fit mannequins used to create gowns to reflect the average body.

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

We want to know what you think? Are diverse mannequins a good idea, just a way to sell clothing – or a bit of both? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

With files from Global News’ Irene Ogrodnik and The Associated Press

© Shaw Media, 2014

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