For a long time, I have lamented the lack of a matching trio of mannequins for the store. We have one super tall lady with hair so luscious no hat or beanie will squeeze on top. Her legs are at an awkward angle, made more obvious when she’s wearing pants, and she just never seems to match in with her companions.
Speaking of, while her two companions do match, and are a much easier shape to dress, they’ve taken a beating over the years, and have a few missing fingers One Saturday, a little boy touched one of their hands and gave it a shake, and the hand came clean off. The poor kid almost hid under the front table with embarrassment, unaware that these ladies drop their digits quite often.
I said to Sal that my ultimate dream purchase would be three matching mannequins. No peeling paint, no missing fingers, and definitely no strange hairstyles. Our own ladies to style beautifully each week.
The search has delivered weird and wonderful finds - it seems the world of fibreglass figures can be downright strange and spooky. There's ladies with wigs and lipstick, plus male figures that can really only be advertising toilets based on their seated position...
But the biggest problem I’m facing is diversity.
Our Salt & Sand customers come in many varied sizes, and I (naively) thought it would be amazing if our window could represent this. Our current mannequins are all close to an AU 8, and while that’s an easy size to cater for across all the labels we carry, it doesn’t come close to representing the ladies who shop with us.
When I began looking, I found a few plus-size options and I thought I’d hit the jackpot. However, when I looked a little harder and read the fine print, these plus-size ladies are mostly around an AU 18. While we do sometimes reach to an 18, most of our brands range from a 6 or 8 to a 14 or 16, so this poor plus-sized mannequin would spend much of her time out of use.
And so, I am left with a problem, and I’m feeling incredibly frustrated.
I desperately want our store to be an inclusive space where ladies of all shapes and sizes feel welcome. Perhaps the mannequin issue seems small in the scheme of things, but we learn so much from what we see, and if we’re excluding size 10-16 women from representation, we’re telling them they’re not the norm.
Clothes sit differently on different bodies, and I want to be able to show that. Hopefully, somewhere out there in the world of fibreglass figures, there's a trio of ladies looking for a new place to call home. And then maybe we can create the tiniest ripple of change from our little seaside town...