BIG NEWS. This week was an all time first in British Fashion history, as a mannequin has been created based on the exact measurements of a real customer: Harriet Winters, using innovative 3D scanning and printing technology.
The fashion brand Long Tall Sally ran a competition to create a mannequin that truly represented a real woman's body shape, which is how the 'Harriet' mannequin came about. Harriet is a size 14 and is 6ft tall, which is a world away from the 'normal' 5ft9 size 8 figures that we are used to. The Harriet mannequin will be used during Long Tall Sally's design and fit process to create a more realistic fit and even better design for the taller customer.
For AGES this has been something that has needed to happen. We've long since known that models and mannequins alike were not an accurate representation of REAL women, but particularly where the mannequins are concerned, we've slightly accepted it as power for the cause. But now my friends, the winds of change are blowing and it's fabulous.
One of my biggest bug bears in life is seeing clothes either on models or mannequins in shop windows that literally look like different creatures to me. It makes shopping depressing and actually, it makes advertising pointless.
So let's quickly meet Harriet, the mannequin girl, who we can thank for a bit of NORMAL in our shops:
How does it feel to be Britain’s FIRST REAL mannequin??
It's exciting and a little overwhelming all at once! I think that clothing should be designed to flatter actual women’s bodies rather than some aspirational body shape. There have been moments where I’ve felt self-conscious about by shape (seeing yourself life-sized in 3D is surreal!) but overall I feel privileged to be part of the Long Tall Sally "Made Tall" campaign and see it as a positive step towards fashion becoming more inclusive.
What inspired you to enter this competition in the first place?
I read about the competition on the Long Tall Sally website and really liked that they were looking to use a regular customer as the basis for the mannequin and clothing designs. I entered on a bit of a whim, not at all expecting to be selected, because I liked the sound of the campaign and wanted to support it in some way.
Being six foot, I can imagine that shopping is a bit tough at times, (I have a very tall sister and I know this is the bane of her life sometimes!), are you ever left to feel a bit overlooked by the industry?
Yes I feel overlooked by the industry sometimes too. I’ve had many shopping trips where I haven’t been able to find anything that fits as many high street retailers just don’t cater for my shape and height. Finding that I could buy jeans that were long enough from Long Tall Sally was an exciting day :-) I think that more retailers should take into account that most people don’t resemble the traditional model shape.
I suppose a great thing for you now is that if you want to know how something will look, you can just try it on the mannequin first (pretty cool!) and there will be plenty of other women who look like you who are helped as well, if there were more relatable mannequins in stores do you think it would help boost shop's sales (and women’s confidence as well obviously!)?
Yes I think that using mannequins that look more like customers would help boost sales and inspire confidence in shoppers. I go shopping to find clothes that will flatter my shape, and being able to see how items look on a mannequin that’s closer to how I look is really helpful. I think it would help with confidence too – using real people of diverse shapes and sizes as mannequins would help dispel the notion that you have to be a certain size to dress fashionably.
I feel like this is the beginning of a big change for fashion, do you agree?
I hope so! I think it’s a really positive step and feel proud to be a part of it.
I slightly feel that you are a voice not to be heard now, since you are a mannequin and all, so we might as well ask you a biggie - if you could say anything to other high street stores, what would it be??
Please design clothes that flatter actual customers rather than traditional models.
So there you have it - let's hope that this is the beginning of a big change in the fashion industry, thank you Long Tall Sally and thank you Harriet, this truly was the best piece of news I've read all week!!
See more about their campaign on their website!