Debenhams start using size 16 mannequins

debsplussizemodels

If you walk past Debenhams on London’s Oxford Street in the next few days, you might spot something a bit unusual. They’ve just added two size 16 mannequins to the display, with a board below reading “I’m a size 16. Do you want to see more of me?”

This is part of a trial by the retailer to see if customers would like to see these mannequins rolled out across more stores. Traditionally, Debenhams use size 10 models, but with 42% of sales coming from size 14 and 16 garments, these new mannequins represent the average customer far more.

Launching this trial is a savvy move on Debenhams part, particularly on the eve of London Fashion Week when everyone’s eyes are on the fashion industry. Far from being shoved into a specialist 16+ range, the mannequins wear the new Principles by Ben de Lisi range, which has had loads of press recently and is one of the store’s key collections.

Hopefully, if enough of us give positive feedback, the mannequins will become a permanent fixture across the country.

If that happens, I’d love to see them continue this good work and add some other sizes to the mix in the future. As much as I think this is a fantastic move forward, I don’t think you can truly represent British women just by adding a couple of plus size mannequins to all those size 10s. How about some petite models, some size 12s and so on? Let’s really push for diversity and a true representation of who is shopping on the UK high street.

[photo via the Debenhams Flickr page]
  • Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  • Aaron

    Surely the mannequins are there to show off the clothes, drawing attention to the size takes away from the design itself.

    It’s just a stunt, nothing more. Those statistics are presented in a misleading way, 58% of sales must come from other sizes! (8-12 anyone?)

    Models on the catwalk are thin and shapeless so that people don’t look at the model they look at the clothes.

  • Aaron

    Surely the mannequins are there to show off the clothes, drawing attention to the size takes away from the design itself.

    It’s just a stunt, nothing more. Those statistics are presented in a misleading way, 58% of sales must come from other sizes! (8-12 anyone?)

    Models on the catwalk are thin and shapeless so that people don’t look at the model they look at the clothes.

  • http://www.gemmacartwright.com Gemma

    Of course the mannequins are there to show off the clothes first and foremost. But if the average sized shopper sees how good the clothes look on a mannequin of their size – instead of seeing them on a size 10, then trying them on only to be disappointed when they look completely different on their body – it’s going to result in more interest and probably more sales.

    What you said about the statistics could be true, I suppose it depends how Debenhams measured them (did they include just 8 – 16 or also their plus size ranges, those labels that go up to an 18 etc?). Either way 14 – 16 is still outselling 8-12 even if it’s only by a relatively small amount. So why not start to target these women more and see what happens?

  • http://www.gemmacartwright.com Gemma

    Of course the mannequins are there to show off the clothes first and foremost. But if the average sized shopper sees how good the clothes look on a mannequin of their size – instead of seeing them on a size 10, then trying them on only to be disappointed when they look completely different on their body – it’s going to result in more interest and probably more sales.

    What you said about the statistics could be true, I suppose it depends how Debenhams measured them (did they include just 8 – 16 or also their plus size ranges, those labels that go up to an 18 etc?). Either way 14 – 16 is still outselling 8-12 even if it’s only by a relatively small amount. So why not start to target these women more and see what happens?

  • http://fleckenzwerg.blogspot.com melmo

    I think that’s a good idea. I mean you feel much more comfortable when you shop and see the clothes in a size more suitable. I think the diversity would make the most sense. Show some small sizes and some bigger sizes.

  • http://fleckenzwerg.blogspot.com melmo

    I think that’s a good idea. I mean you feel much more comfortable when you shop and see the clothes in a size more suitable. I think the diversity would make the most sense. Show some small sizes and some bigger sizes.

  • http://www.missbaah.etsy.com missbaah

    I do love the idea of a range of mannequins in different sizes rather than a whole shop full of size 10s. I definately know a lot more women who are closer to a 14 or a 16 than 8s and 10s.

    Of course, phasing out smaller mannequins completely would be a poor choice.. and stunt or not I rather like the idea of seeing mannequins that more accurately show how the clothes would look on ME once in a while.

  • http://www.missbaah.etsy.com missbaah

    I do love the idea of a range of mannequins in different sizes rather than a whole shop full of size 10s. I definately know a lot more women who are closer to a 14 or a 16 than 8s and 10s.

    Of course, phasing out smaller mannequins completely would be a poor choice.. and stunt or not I rather like the idea of seeing mannequins that more accurately show how the clothes would look on ME once in a while.

  • NotCHOmama

    In my thinking, this was a no brainer. And finally someone had the guts to take action.

    Personally, I'd be more prone to browse through THIS store because I could see how their clothing line would actually look on my body type.

    With nearly half the market in a size 14/16, this step outside the box should generate higher sales.

    P.S. Do they have a store here? I love the b/w zigzag dress!!