Display mannequins. We overlook them. We lust over the clothing they’re wearing and we think they all look the same. Being a detail-oriented Visual Merchandising major, I am constantly paying attention to the variety of mannequins available on display in retail stores. They all have their own personalities and send waves of energy out of their windows and onto the streets. Here are a few of the main “Mannequin Tribes” I’ve noticed in the industry.
First, we have the positive, energetic tribe — one that goes to great lengths to get our attention. Their action-induced poses lead me to wonder: 1. How bored the merchandisers were and 2. Should I enter the store?
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Next, we have the glamorous, luxury retailer mannequins. (You know, the mannequin that makes you do a double take whether or not there’s a live model in the window or not.) The airbrush work on these figures is intense and sometimes rivals the eye makeup I apply daily.
Lastly, we have the frightening and awkward mannequins. These mannequins are terribly obvious and off-putting. Observing an awkward mannequin pose in public is like one of those moments in life when you’re embarrassed, and wish you could leave the room, but can’t. The perfect example of an awkward mannequin pose is Forever 21’s notorious demi–squat. Consumers are constantly intrigued with the pose from behind, and I just wonder why they continue to position their mannequins this way.
Another bizarre mannequin tribe is Old Navy’s “Super Modelquins”. These “models” star in low-budgeted television commercials for the brand, and you can even meet them in store. Their uber-joyous facial expressions make me more irritated than excited to shop.