Real Customers with Varying Body Types Inspire Mannequins

Real Customers with Varying Body Types Inspire Mannequins

The 'When it fits, you feel it' campaign highlights the diversity of real Americans.

Tiffany Nesbit
  • 22 july 2014

When Dove launched the campaign for Real Beauty in 2004 people began paying a lot more attention to the differences between the silhouettes of real people and those of the mannequins that model the clothing people are supposed to wear… or at least they became more vocal about the differences. Since then, a number of clothing designers and department stores have attempted to be more inclusive, usually by featuring plus-sized mannequins- but real people know a few extra pounds isn’t the only thing that makes our bodies different from mannequins. Latching onto this idea, JCPenney created a window display featuring mannequins that are inspired by more diverse body types.


Dawna Callahan uses a wheelchair due to incomplete paralysis. Ricardo Gil has dwarfism. Desiree Hunter is a 6’5″ female basketball player. Beth Ridgeway is a plus-sized mom. Neil Duncan lost parts of both legs fighting for freedom in Afghanistan. These five real people were the inspiration for the five mannequins that were put on display in JCPenney’s Manhattan Mall storefront. The mannequins were designed to better service and better represent the various body types that are customers in the store. In addition, the store display is the third phase of the new ‘When it fits, you feel it’ campaign.

The campaign’s two earlier efforts include a Valentine’s Day-themed ad and a commercial that aired during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, both of which speak about the importance of fit. “We love the range of shapes, colors of skin, wallet, the lifestyles and the occasions that all of our customers shop for; we consider it a challenge and an opportunity to service that,” Debra Berman, JCPenney‘s Senior VP of Marketing, tells WCN, adding, “We like to say ‘fit’ is our superpower.”


Produced by Fusion Specialties, Inc., the real people-inspired mannequins will only be on display in the New York City location throughout August, though additional phases of ‘When it fits, you feel it’ are in the works. Hopefully, this campaign will inspire other brands to make their stores more appealing to a broader range of customers.

JCPenney Media

[h/t] Ad Age, WCNC

+fashion / apparel
+fitness / sport

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