My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Welcome to rachelsays... The blog of Rachel Lewis, containing my thoughts and musings on illustration, design, fashion, music, cakey-bakey goodness, culture and things that I generally find cool. There's also a good chance my own illustration work will pop up on here.

All work on this blog is copyright to me unless I state that it isn't. Obviously. Don't do stealing, kids.

So come on in, have a look around, and leave a comment if you like what you see.
contact [at]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Debenhams: Would you like to see more of me?

I read the other day that Debenhams have decided to use size 16 mannequins in their Oxford Street windows:

Image from

Signs next to the mannequins, which will be wearing the recently launched Principles by Ben de Lisi range, will ask customers: "I'm a size 16. Do you want to see more of me?". If people decide that they do, the mannequins will be rolled out across more stores. Personally, I think this is pretty great to raise this issue. Also, they've done it smack bang in the middle of London Fashion Week, which is very clever of them; every year there's a debate about the size of catwalk models and this is sure to stir some debate.

However, I do have a small qualm. It's great that the majority of women are now being represented in one of Britain's largest department stores (can you believe that the average for UK women is a size 14-16? I feel like everyone's so damn skinny these days), but a small voice is saying that maybe, using size 16 mannequins will mean it's OK to be a size 16. Which, you can argue it is, but also, you can argue it isn't. It depends on your height/weight etc - but if I was a size 16, I'd be obsese. (I'm 5ft4.) I don't really want to be encouraged to be a size 16 - I already have enough trouble with cakes etc! Sometimes I like to look at mannequins and although I feel a bit depressed, it makes me want to keep myself slim(ish). Is that just me? There are of course lots of plus sized shops out there, Evans being the obvious, and they already use larger mannequins. Maybe this is just a rant at my feeling of Britain 'casualising' itself (I made that word up, ha) - think Ugg boots (more like 'Ugh' boots, they're so disgusting and unfeminine) and tracksuits/loungewear/PJs on women more and more these days. And having size 16 mannequins sort of says 'Look, it's ok to let yourself go!' What happened to aspiring to be well groomed, looking after yourself, healthy, fit, and an ideal, curvy weight? I'd say size 12 is more appropriate. It's not skin and bones skinny and it's not unfit muffin top. You know? That's more an inner thought/rambling than my final say on the matter. I'm still happy this has happened; mannequins should represent the minority, after all.

The main positive thing that this will do is inspire debate, and enable people to question why size 8-10 is standard in shop windows. This is a good thing. People come in all shapes and sizes. Especially, as I said, during LFW.

Mark Fast famously uses size 12 models on his catwalk shows and I think they look great:
Taken from Topshop Inside Out

The model in the middle is a size 12 and a University student; she looks amazing and the perfect size for women to aspire to. Not a size 6. Mark Fast himself says he wants his clothes to fit real women so models them on real women. This image is from his new knitwear collection; click the link, it all looks ace. Could do with some of that right now, I'm uber cold.

So what do you think? Is it stupid of Debenhams to try and change the way the fashion industry works? Is it amazing and all shops should have size 16 mannequins? Is it just going to encourage women to let themselves go and accept that size 16 is what they should be? Hmmm. Let it rip.

1 comment:

Victoria Stitch said...

i think it's kind of a good idea but I suppose when it sompeletely comes dwon to it, its that they use really skinny models in catwalks/window displays etc because the clothes hang better on them. and the designers obviously want to show off their clothes to the best advantage. I don't know. it's good to mix it up though I guess!