Whether for a shop window display or for designing the next big thing in fashion, a mannequin or tailors dummy is a staple item for many retailers. Pronounced "manikin", ensure the mannequin you choose helps your clothing to stand out.
There are a number of elements to consider when choosing a mannequin. Shape and size should be in line with your target market; for example use a plus size mannequin if your target audience is plus size women. Customers also want to be able to see the fit and quality of clothing, pinning clothing to fit a mannequin can be misleading.
Carefully consider where to place your mannequin, do not block exits or make the mannequin an obstacle to customers. Changing your shop window frequently keeps your display fresh and interesting for the shopper; using an articulated mannequin allows you to change the pose easily. Mannequins should be kept clean, always handle with care and use a clean, damp cloth to remove dirt.
Mannequins are not just for retail use, popular with fashion design and education. Ghost mannequins, also known as packshot mannequins, are suitable for fashion photography and clothing schematics as they create an invisible silhouette. The use of a dressmaker’s dummy or tailor’s bust is helpful when altering the fit of a garment and are often used by dress makers, tailors and fashion designers.
There are a number of materials used to construct a mannequin or dummy, first made from wood for a sturdy model; ball and socket joints can be formed from wood to create an adjustable mannequin. Wood is no longer commonly used due to its weight and lack of longevity.
Polystyrene is a hard wearing plastic that is virtually indestructible making it a long lasting display option for busy environments. Plastic mannequins are lightweight making them easy to manoeuvre, plastic models are also a more cost effective option as they are usually lower in price.
Fiberglass is now the most common material used to manufacture mannequins but must be handled with care to avoid damage to the surface. Fiberglass mannequins are sturdy and can create a more realistic looking model with easy to sculpt features. Fibreglass and plastic models can endure the hustle & bustle of a busy retail store or fashion exhibition and come with a variety of finishes such as matt or gloss.