Huffpost UK Lifestyle

Finally Fashion Women Can Relate To: Debenhams Introduces Size 16 Mannequins To Store

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Many of us have come to terms with the fact that - no matter how much we suck our tummies in or how tall our high heels are - clothes will never look the same on us as they do on the svelte silhouettes in fashion magazines or towering over us in shop windows.

But that shouldn't be the case. When slipped off the hanger and onto our backs, clothes should make us feel good about the way we look - not worse.

Thankfully, Debenhams are set on changing things - one mannequin at a time.

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Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities with the new mannequins

Following in the fashion forward footsteps of their various diversity campaigns, the retailer has introduced size 16 mannequins to its flagship store in Oxford Circus, London.

“The average British woman is a size 16, but the high street has been showing them clothing on a mannequin that is three sizes smaller… until now," explains Debenhams director Ed Watson.

The new models, which have been created in-house, are designed to relate to and represent the Debenhams customer. The new silhouettes will be rolled out nationwide after the initial two-week trial period comes to an end.

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This isn't the retailer's first stride towards diversity.

Earlier this year Debenhams used 'real' men and women (including a plus-size model, a 69-year-old and an amputee) and in 2010 the store banned airbrushing in a powerful swimsuit campaign.

"This move isn't a tokenist intiaitive," a spokesperson tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle. "Debenhams will continue to use a range of models - representing different ethnicities, ages and body types."

“The images we see in the world of fashion are all pretty much the same – it’s as if there’s only one way of being beautiful. Yet nine in 10 people say they would like to see a broader range of body shapes shown in advertising and the media," says Jo Swinson Minister for Women and Equalities and head of the Campaign For Body Confidence.

“Debenhams are setting a great example by celebrating a wide range of women in its fashion imagery."

Editor of SLiNK, the UK's only plus-size fashion magazine, Rivikie Baum welcomes the change.

"I think it's a great move to use mannequins that represent the average woman," she tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle. "We've seen statistically that 50% of women are now a size 16+ and hopefully the use of these mannequins will allow the average high street shopper to relate to the Debenhams' products better.

"It's also great to see that they will be using a mixture of sizes as mannequins. A lot of people seem to believe it has to be either or but having size 10s and 16s shows a good balance to potential consumers."

Our readers are pleased that Debenhams is featuring mannequins more in-tune with its customer.

What do you think of the mannequins? Let us know in the comments below.

 
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