If mannequins were to reflect our actual bodies in any way, then we would all be bereft of belly buttons and lacking curves. Unlike the plastic persons that are positioned in clothing store window fronts, our actual bodies are not one-size-fits-all; rather they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
Pro Infirmis, a Swiss support group for people with disabilities, has launched a project that focuses specifically on this issue of body representation and misrepresentation. As part of “Who Among Us Is Perfect?”, the group designed a series of mannequins based on five different disabled individuals whose bodies diverge from the average person.
Among the models Pro Infirmis chose were people with especially short or lost limbs and people suffering from scoliosis (spinal cord deviation) osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone disease). On the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the mannequins were displayed in the windows of expensive clothing stores across Zurich.
Pro Infirmis says that with the mannequin project, they hope to not only increase visibility for people with disabilities, but to also challenge the fashion world’s sisyphic obsession with body perfection.