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Mannequin Special: The Global view

By Dipanjan Mukherjee | Vjmedia Works | July 24, 2013

Two prominent international designers share their take on global mannequin trends in terms of materials, forms and more. Read on..

Ken  Nisch,  Chairman,  JGA,  Southfield Michigan USA

Latest  trends/  innovations  in  the  use  of mannequins

More,  more,  more  and  more!  partially  this has  driven  the  growing  importance  of  "soft experience” within the world of retail design.  Other  areas  including  better  control  and management  of  inventories  within  retail stores, where they have allowed a bit of "white space” versus stacks and stacks of redundant product to better show romance and showcase products in ways that attract the customer.

 

Lastly,  fashion  trends  with  new  fabric  types, better tailoring even in the middle and mass markets, attention to detail and embellishment, and  a  more  active  fit  in  many  products including  crossover  of  active  look  and  styles to casual wear, can only be successfully shown through the use of mannequins and forms.

 

In short, enhanced experience, better logistics related to inventory, flow and fashion trends -- all point to the need and benefit of more mannequins within space.

Interesting new mannequin forms, use of unconventional raw materials

new  mannequin  types  are  coming  into development  that  are  not  just  for  showing apparel.   The  use  of  mannequin  forms sometimes  exaggerated,  i.e.  extended  height mannequins  that  show  bove  the  typical merchandising  presentation,  to  those  that are  being  developed  specifically  for  fashion accessories,  jewellery,  bags,  and  eyewear,  are also part of an emerging trend.

 

Mannequins  made  from  sustainable materials

Mannequin  materials  are  also  evolving, particularly  with  interesting  composites, using  eco-friendly  materials,  post-industrial materials,  natural  materials  such  as fiberboards;  paper  mache,  essentially  any fibrous material that could be processed into other  types  of  products  from  banana  leaves, wheat stalk residue, and even products from the recycled world that originally found their way  into  ountertop  fabrication,  are  now becoming fair game for the mannequin supply world, including recycled glass.

 

The  growth  of  sustainable  materials  are partially  driven  by  the  retailers  wanting  to "do  good,”  but  as  well  the  ability  to  recycle materials  to  add  to  texture,  tone,  and  finish is  also  a  motivation  for  looking  at  new  and unique  and  non-traditional  materials.   By their  nature  these  materials  can  be  recycled or recyclable, but in many cases it is not the recyclability in itself that is driving the interest, but  rather  the  interesting  outcome  from  a creative and design possibilities perspective.

Some innovative/out-of-the-box examples

In  the  case  of  fine  jewellery,  the  use  of mannequins as a "visual background/graphic” in  a  uS  fine  jewellery  chain  is  interesting. Rather than using typical posters and signage, the front window mannequin is "dressed” with one-of-a-kind outfits that enhance the overall setting,  communicate  and  attract  attention with  the  jewellery  product  in  display,  being more  visible  near  field.   The  mannequin also  creates  attention  far  field  to  bring  the consumers closer to the window.

 

In the case of Lucy, a series of repetitive forms and  mannequins  are  used  as  a  way  to  show dimensionality, fit, and details in the case of highly  technical  and  engineered  yoga  pants and active tops. The use of repetitive forms in mannequins draw attention to what would be otherwise unusable selling space, and from a visual standpoint, they illustrate in a simple and effective way, how body type and fit can come together.

Angela  Kreutz,  CEO  -  Blocher  Blocher India.

Latest  trends/  innovations  in  the  use  of mannequins

The  most  important  trend  may  be  that  the awareness of their importance is increasing. Retailers  require  more  individuality  and favour  tailored  choices  of  mannequins  that strengthen  the  brand  identity.  Tailored  also means  the  individual  decoration  of  the figures  themselves  with  feathers  or  flowers etc.  A  definitely  commercial  trend  is  that rather abstract figures are fancied over more realistic  models.  Additionally,  following  the vintage  trend  of  fashion  and  store  design, mannequins  with  wooden  arms  and  cloth covered  dress  forms  are  panelling  the  shop windows.

 

Interesting new mannequin forms, use of unconventional raw materials

Strong  poses  have  become  very  important. Instead of the bog-standard standing poses, alternatives  like  sitting  or  lying  bring  fresh impressions into the store. Additionally, new materials  like  raw  papier-mâché  or  tinted fibreglass are the dictates of the moment.

 

Mannequins  made  from  sustainable materials

Sustainability has developed to a major theme in  all  spheres  of  life.  Of  course,  this  also influences  the  Visual  Merchandising  world. More and more retailers look for environment friendly  products  and  accordingly  the  offer grows. This not only comprises material and production,  but  also  the  flexibility  of the mannequins.  At  a  showroom  we  have  seen hot  new  mannequins  with  interchangeable faces.  Amazing!  If  you  can  swap  only different body parts instead of replacing the whole figure, a lot of waste can be reduced.

S o me  in n o v at iv e / out - of - the - box examples

First of all, you can't always work with edgy designed mannequins as they have to fit the brand  image.  Sometimes,  reduced  models are stronger. But of course, we also realise the need for out-of-the-box arrangements. For  example,  for  a  premium  boutique  in Europe,  we  draped  one  mannequin  on  a suspended display - just like on a swing. It's very  playful  and  eye-catching  installation that conveys a certain lightness. For another fashion  retailer,  we've  chosen  raw  papiermâché  mannequins.  They  support  the ambience  of  the  store  with  their  plain  but still expressive presence.

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