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What do you think of our size 16 mannequins?

BY STYLE EDITOR, ON 18 FEB 2010 12:00 DEBENHAMS NEWSCOMMENTS

I'm a size 16, do you want to see more of me?

“I’m a size 16, do you want to see more of me?”

Debenhams Oxford Street today unveiled a trial using size 16 mannequins in its windows and we’d love to know what you think about it.

Like most retailers Debenhams generally uses standard size 10 mannequins in window displays. But with the majority of women in the UK  either a size 14 or 16 it was time for us to take notice and try something a bit different.

With London Fashion Week almost upon us, we’ve been thinking about Mark Fast who caused waves when he sent size 12 and 14 models down his catwalk last season. Gorgeous size 16 model Crystal Renn has also had a huge impact on the fashion industry recently. Check out Grazia’s article about the rise of plus-size.

Our Head of Creative, Mark Stevens, told us about the idea behind this trial: “We are proud to offer a broad and varied choice for women of all ages, shapes and sizes in store. So we thought we should reflect this in our window displays. If it’s popular with customers we would love to roll it out.”

Mannequins wear Principles by Ben de Lisi

Susan Ringwood, Chief Executive of charity Beat supports the Debenhams trial: “Women often feel it is their fault that clothes don’t look as good on them as they do in the shop window, so we congratulate Debenhams on taking this initiative.”

The mannequins are wearing the new Principles by Ben de Lisi collection which is available in size 6 – 18. We’d love to roll this out across the country soon, especially if the feedback is good.

Leave us a comment below to have your say…

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  • JUNE PARR

    Think that it is a brilliant idea, not all of us are stick thin. Welcome to the real world

  • Molly

    AMEN!!!!! They are BEAUTIFUL! I am in the United States, and you Brits are the bomb! Why didn’t anyone else come up with this? This is what most women look like. Absolutely perfect and beautiful in every way. We should not be made to feel imperfect due to unrealistic expectations. We come in all sizes and shapes, and there’s nothing wrong with any of them. Thank you for this 1st step in the right direction. Kudos for your vision and openmindedness. I m ust come to Great Britain soon.Big hugs from America! Love, Molly.

  • http://www.walkthecatwalk.com Liis Windischmann

    I live in Canada and am a size 14 model and advocate for more diversity in fashion. I have been pushing for a broader spectrum of mannequin sizes for years. I ask women,”When was the last time you saw your body shape or size reflected in mannequins?” 100% of the answers? NEVER. How very sad. Congrats to you for the action you have taken. I encourage you to use a variety of sizes to represent all women. I promise the next time I am in the UK, I will make a point to shop at your store. Thanks for the message that as a consumer, I matter to you, that you see me. You have taken a bigger step than I think you realize. Kudos to Mark Stevens for this initiative – he deserves a giant pat on the back!

  • Heather Kuiper

    love them!

  • Connie Kras

    Well done and a very big Thank-you.

  • Corrine Shimmon

    I think they look great- but they still won’t help me at all.

    Size 16 clothes look just as great on tall women as size 10 do- but I know that those outfits would all look awful on me- being 5″2 and a size 16.

  • http://www.100percentpeople.com Sarah Jones

    This is a fantastic idea. Thank you Debenhams!
    We have been advocating the use of body diversity throughout the fashion industry through our recently launched campaign Real Bodies Unite. We are appealing to all women to sign our petition who want to see models that represent them!

  • Jen

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!

  • Anna

    This is such a good idea. Mannequins show shoppers how a great outfit can be pulled together with the products from the shop and look fab, how did it take this long for someone to realise that people of all sizes need inspiration?!

  • Jon

    Fantastic!

  • Abby Garner

    THANK YOU! Thank you for doing something so practical to help women feel better about themselves. For all the talk in the fashion industry about ‘moving towards’ life-sized models, and how bad anorexia is blah blah blah practically no-one has done anything of real value to move both women and men to getting used to looking at NORMAL-looking women. Your models are beautiful – AND I WILL SPEND MORE MONEY AT DEBENHAMS AS A RESULT OF YOUR STANCE, AND WILL ENCOURAGE ALL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO DO LIKEWISE!

  • Joanna

    This is such a great initiative!!! Thank you for finally recognising the average British woman!

  • Sally

    Hooray – Well done Debenhams, it is so difficult to imagine what certain items look like on a real body, let alone a real body which is not stick thin. Thank you for this, now introduce into all your stores please!

  • http://blog.debenhams.com Editor

    Thanks for your feedback everyone. It’s all really useful and constructive for us.

  • Ess Jay

    Love it! While I appreciate that those people who are smaller than a size 16, and there are always plenty of those who comment on these issues saying “I’m naturally slim and it’s not fair that I’m vistimised because of it!” will feel under-represented (nonsense, as 99% of all other stores will no doubt stick to their smaller sized mannequins) this is a great move from Debenhams. I’m fed up trying on clothes that look fantastic on a size 8-10 mannequin, that on a size 12-14 me look completely different. Maybe we could have a mix of both to keep everyone happy.

  • Dawn Goodall

    I am an ex window dresser, and this has been a long time coming, i think its fantastic, the manniquins look great in the clothes, its a true representation of what the clothes will actually look like and not all pinned in to fit a size 8 model……well done Debenhams :) )

  • Cynthia

    Size 14, huh? What about women who are 5’2″ tall? It’s not just about short legs, you know.

  • Kim

    As one of those women who isn’t a size 10, I think this is fantastic! However, I would urge Debenhams to make use of both these new size 16 mannequins and the old size 10 ones as women come in all shapes & sizes from both the slim size 10 to the not so slim size 16 so it’s unfair to marginalise either group. It would be fabulous to have at least one shop on the high street where there are a range of differently sized mannequins in the window, allowing women to see that they stock clothes that look good on both a slender woman and on a larger sized woman – especially as more often than not the dress that looks nice in the window and draws you into a shop actually looks horrid when you try it on if you’re not mannequin proportions.

    I say go forth and mix up your mannequins, Debenhams – show the high street fashion world what celebrating real women is really all about!

  • http://www.sharonhaywood.com/ Sharon Haywood

    Fantastic!!! Thank you for setting an example for other merchants. Personally, I would love to see mannequins come in all sizes. Just like us!

  • Aileen Morrison

    I think it’s much better because when the clothes are on the mannequins (size 8/10 clothes I might add because that’s the smallest size in most Debenhams ranges) they are still folded over and pinned down at the back because it the clothes literally hang off them. So, it makes more sense in a way, because before you’re advertising clothes to look a certain way, where in reality there was no way you could look like that because the clothes are not sold small enough and you wouldn’t walk around with your clothes pinned on you!

    The mannequins looks stunning by the way! And I’m sure everyone agrees :D

  • Siobhanio

    Excellent! I haven’t seen them yet.. but hopefully it won’t be too long before you roll them out to all stores. You’re definitely leading the field in recognising that real bodies are not uniform. Most women are not a size 10 so showing us what they look like on a size 10 mannequin is not really much help.
    I hope these mannequins are tall too! I would have to disagree with an earlier post – size 16 doesn’t always look good on us tall sisters! It’s quite soul destroying to find clothes that look nice on the mannequin, try them on and then find that the knees or waists or shoulders are in all the wrong places! So a few size 16 mannequins who are also 6 ft would be really really really really nice :-)

  • http://styleontheedge.com/ K

    Fantastic! I hope to be able to order from here in the States.

  • Cassie

    Fantastic! its about time the fashion industry recognized beauty in all shapes! I hope that this is just the start of an acknowledgment of every body type….who knows maybe one day there will be short mannequins with curves…..they look great!! :)

  • Debbie

    Thank you….at last some real women to look at in the shop window.

  • sally haynes

    Well done Debenhams!! If your customers are size 14/16 they want to see the clothes displayed as they will look when THEY wear them. When I was a child size 14 was the AVERAGE size NOT a plus size.

  • R Jones

    This is long overdue! I am sick of so called professionals in the industry telling us that “women prefer to see size 8/10 models, they want to see perfection”. I certainly don’t. This initiative by Debenhams is a good reflection of how women like me want to see new fashions presented. I am a size 10 (UK sizing) and I still dont believe the mannequins up until now have reflected me or any other natural body shape. Go Debenhams!

  • Sarah

    At last!!! How fabulous to actually be able to see what an outfit might look like on me! Even though I love fashion I gave up buying fashion magazines as there’s really no point in seeing what clothes look like on a skinny model. It really is ridiculous that women of different sizes are so ignored by magazines and shops – well done Debenhams for leading the way!

  • Sandra Scott

    Fantastic, great to see normal women sized shop dummies. What a funny sentence, but you know what I mean. Well done.

  • Sandra Smith

    Well done, please continue with this theme. Half of women in England are as size 14 – 16 and over. In my younger days a size 14 was seen as average and normal, not these stick thin child like women models of today.

  • Cristina

    Wonderful! I am very happy to see that some stores are finally getting in touch with reality and helping women feel better about their bodies.

  • http://www.lifeclubs.co.uk Abs

    I think this is wonderful! Well done, Debenhams. I agree with some of the other posters that diversity in mannequins is something to aim for – mannequins who are tall, short, all shapes and sizes and colours, with and without hips and tummies and bums and boobs, etc etc. This is not just so you can show how your clothes look on a variety of body types, but also to show women that it is normal and just fine to have bodies that vary in shape and size. Too many women think a tall flat-stomached waif-like figure is the norm, that they are the freaks for not fitting that norm, and punish themselves for it. All women and body types deserve to be catered for and celebrated.

  • M Scorey

    What a fantastic idea!

  • Helen

    Congratulations Debenhams, a great idea, I am coming up to London tomorrow and looking forward to seeing mannequins that look like me ( well, sort of!!). I get fed up looking at clothes that have acres of fabric pinned in at the back on the small mannequins, it will make a change to see items fully covering a model.

  • Bev

    At last! A company with some sense – I’ve never understood why shops make it so hard for us “normal” people to shop, surely our money looks the same. I haven’t bought clothes on the high street for years – now I’ll be going to Debenhams for sure.

  • http://www.strategictherapy.co.uk Sarah Turner

    How refreshing!!! Would love to see other stores following this idea. Well done Debenhams!

  • Sue C

    I haven’t actually seen them in one of your stores but I think you’ve done something really good here. Women want to see clothes on all different sized mannequins in shop windows so that we can see what might look good on us whatever our size. Well done for trail-blazing – I hope other stores follow suit, but even if they don’t your stance will make me more likely to shop in Debenhams.

  • Rina

    Awesome. What an inspiration. Thank you for representing women in an honest and respectful manner. You are definitely a class act.

    ps. I am in support of mannequins that are a 16 – but also, a 14, which are a true representative of the average woman.

  • http://www.thequeenofhardrock.com The Queen of Hard Rock

    At last – thank you!

  • Monica

    Excellent idea! About time retailers realised that there are a lot of women of size 16+ who want to look their best with well made and well merchandised clothes. Size 16 mannequins are a step in the right direction. Can we also have a better range of clothes in size 16+ please – the market for 16+ clothes is huge, yet retailers seem to completely ignore it. So thank you, Debenhams – it makes good business sense and I would be more likely to shop there if you rolled out this initiative.
    Whether size 16+ is healthy is a completely different discussion. Health, medication, life circumstances mean that women come in all shapes and sizes – flattering, fashionable clothes will help them feel better about themselves.

  • Fran

    Brilliant initiative, please do roll them out to other stores!

  • DG2B

    Size 14-16 mannequins are a fantastic idea. Whilst we need to appreciate that not all body shapes and sizes will be represented (an impossible task) it is good to see a more average size shown. If this was used worldwide we may not be suffering as badly with eating disorders. well done Debenhams, let’s hope other stores take your lead!

  • Bridget

    Finally, someone with some sense in the fashion industry! All of us women who wear plus sizes, do want to wear clothes that don’t look like sacks. This is a great idea… to reflect what real women look like and can aspire to dress like. Way to go! Kudos to you!

  • eva

    great idea

  • Dannie

    Ok so as you can see from the posts your never gonna please all of the people all of the time. It is about time that some more human size maniquines hit the shop floors all around the country so a pig thumbs up for doing it, lets hope the website soon follows suit and offeres you a size and shape option to try clothes out on. Keep up the good work and thanks for listening to our opinions and using them!

  • alexandria tedesco

    this is so exciting!! i too live in the united states and love principle’s by ben delisi. love actually seeing outfits on mannequins that reflect how i would look. thank you :)

  • http://scannertimes.blogspot.com/ Ali P

    About time! Congrats for taking the first step.

  • Catherine

    After buying plus size clothing for years and often at Debenhams its great that there are now mannequins the same size as well – any display of clothing should include as many different sizes as possible to reflect the real world and not just the catwalk figures which are impossible for most people.
    Keep up the good work, are all the mannequins the same height????? (Next step)

  • Meco

    Hallelujah – please tell me that future clothes stocks will reflect the message of size 16 mannequins: that the clothes are available for 16+ sizes. Why stop at size 18? Also, we would completely understand if there are certain designs that are only available in larger sizes (we have already lived with “only available in smaller sizes” for years). Some cuts may not suit smaller sizes. I have seen ranges for taller people, or petite. People do not spring from one cookie-cutter shape, nor do we lack fashion sense if we’re over size 14. Ironically, many stores do not realize that if shopping becomes a pleasure instead of a punishment, many women would happily spend money on clothes instead of the chocs they buy after a disastrous session in the dressing room. Well done.

  • Amy

    Finally some people in the fashion world who are giving a real picture to women and girls. Well done Debenhams. Let’s hope others follow your lead. Brilliant!

  • Wendy

    AT LAST!! and congratulations to Debenhams and Ben de Lisi for giving us clothes for the real woman, which are both flattering and trendy!! excellent! This is something which would definitely make me shop at Debenhams.

  • Jo

    Fantastic!! Finally someone is realising that the women with stick thin bodies are actually the minority and the rest of us are “normal”!! Well done Debenhams!!!

  • Anna

    Brilliant! I love them! I think it’s important to see that clothes can and DO look better on normal sized people.

  • http://www.juliasnowdin.co.uk Julia Snowdin

    Low self esteem is created by the images in fashion and the media. I believe this shouldn’t happen, if the media and fashion use a divested size of models self esteem will improve. Well done Debenhams for being the a new trend. I would love to see size 16 manikins in all your shops and size 16 models in your adverts.

  • Carla

    I like the more realistic sized mannequins….I would like to see Debenhams try sizes 10-14 trials too perhaps? I think variety is great. This works for me as a consumer because I can see more of my shape reflected in the window and makes me think “oh I may find something there for me”! I celebrate the authenticity.

  • Monica

    I am honestly terrified to go shopping. All I can find are sizes 6-10, 12 at tops and I am a 14! I never find the clothes I like in my size, I only stumble across clothes that are too small for me to fit in. Most women go through terrible struggles to be thin just to be like the rest, just to fit in the clothes they find at the store, unable to appreciate a more curvy body. I applaud your initiative and I wish it to spread like fire in a dry meadow!

  • natalie

    These mannequins are great! I am a size 12/14 and find these sizes to be far more realistic of today’s woman. I don’t understand why the fashion world is constantly aimed at skinny 16 – 25 year olds when the majority of women are both older and larger than that. Well done debenhams!

  • Charlie t

    Yay this is great!!, im so happy about this, now all thats left to do is change the adverts, every ten minutes theres a loose weight advert with a skinny model in it, they should stop pushing weight loss in peoples faces by showing them vile skinny women, im a girl with an eating disorder and im sick of it being pushed in my face wooooohooooo, the world is coming to senses…….

  • Stephanie

    Love this! This is an amazing step taken in today’s society. Size 16 is a normal size and it should be treated as such. Also just becuase it is a size 16 doesnt mean you cant look sexy. I am a size 16 and get compliments all the time on how i dress. Its not about the number ! its about the clothing you wear and the confidence that comes from you! Thank you again!

  • http://www.feelingstylish.co.uk/ Jess

    It’d be good to see models of all sizes wearing clothes that would flatter those body shapes.

    But bravo on this. Those models look fab!

  • corsetsus

    When is this moving up North? – a brilliant idea to create a positive approach to we more normal bodies!

  • barb jungr

    About time – Go Debenhams! Brilliant.

  • MissAnon

    Bravo!!!!

  • Michele Milligan

    Congratulations, lets hope other retailers catch on

  • caroline

    Great initiative. Can we also see shorter, bigger people too!

  • Sara

    Fantastic! Hope this makes other retailers follow suit. Size 16 isn’t even a huge size but in todays society of seeing size 0 models on magazine covers and catwalks, people are made to think it is. Daft since there are so many women size 14+ and they are fit and healthy.

  • Anna

    Hi
    Now you can create a range styles for 14-18 sizes as these sizes need overall different finishes don`t they
    Sizes 6-10 can be a different range of style and accessories,what do you think? Double your profits!

  • ralph

    I’m working on plus size women at the moment in my photography, and I must say that I applaud it, however the mannequins that you have here in the photos look some what under size 16 compared to size 16 models I am currently working with. I must admit that the image that I have and still do give as other fashion photographers of feminin beauty (very skinny) must have a bad effect on the opinion that one has on ones own appearance. Myself and my wife both suffer it aswell, the slightest bulge is seen to be a default that needs hiding! Well done, a good move towards reality.

  • http://www.adiosbarbie.com/2010/08/mannequins-make-a-statement/ Mannequins Make a Statement | Adios Barbie

    [...] mannequins in the lingerie section of the mainstream department store Myers. Back in February, Debenhams department store in London started the movement by using size UK 16 mannequins (US 14/AU 18) in their window displays. In May, the New York Times had a feature about them. [...]

  • http://blog.debenhams.com/caryn-franklin-presents-the-style-list/news/debenhams-news-services/ Caryn Franklin presents The Style List | Debenhams Blog

    [...] Size 16 mannequins [...]

  • Leisha

    I actually found this blog because I was trying to find out why clothes stores only have mannequins for size 8/10. I used to work as a Stylist for Karen Millen and almost every day women would come in, sizes 14 or above asking if anything would ever look good on them. This lack of self- esteem in women is atrocious, especially when perpetuated by unrealistic ideals of feminine beauty. I think having mannequins between sizes 6-20 (maybe a 6, a 14 and an 18?) in a window could help shift past the idea that to be beautiful, you cannot always be you. I am not sure if you still have this mannequin, but I very much hope that you do. It is wonderful to see a store encouraging the idea that being healthy and true to yourself is more beautiful than starving to reach an often inaccessible and alienating norm. 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/EmiiEvans Emily Evans

    Setting the standard – very impressed. Well done for bringing fashion a little further into the real world – thank you, Debenhams!

  • http://www.igigi.com/blog/plus-size-fashion-news/push-plus-size-mannequins/ More Plus-size Mannequins in Stores? I IGIGI Blog I Size Acceptance In Fashion and Shopping

    [...] According to the Huffington Post, Swinson’s campaign “has brought attention to the causes and consequences of body image anxiety, the impact of celebrity role models on young people, and deceiving uses of Photoshop.” When Debenhams rolled out their plus-size mannequins in 2010, they were featured next to signs that said “I’m a size 16, do you want to see more of me?” in order to gain consumer feedback. Credit: Debenhams Blog [...]

  • shopstop

    I AM A SIZE ZERO AND I THINK THIS IS WONDERFUL!

    That was slightly hyperbolic– I am a size four, consider myself a ‘real woman’ in every sense, and I still think this is a fantastic move by Debenhams– and I don’t just mean for publicity!
    Average is the new ideal? I love this. Selfishness aside, I have always wondered how normal women are able to visualise their fashion choices based on mannequins– surely they just get to the changing rooms and are very disappointed?
    This will help shift stock and elevate mood and I think it’s all-round brilliance!

    Now if only companies could cater to normative hair, skin and teeth we might actually find a real revolution in realistic advertising.