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Guests, customers, and employees not trained to work with
mannequins can all do damage, albeit unintentionally. So
anyone who works with them regularly would be thrilled if
they could last five years. But the styles need to change to
bring freshness to the floor, and materials and paint coatings need to be
stronger to take the wear and tear of today’s busy retail environments.
I have worked with mannequins that are over 10 years old, but they are
used less—and only when desperate to do so—unless we can budget and
be given time to refurbish to our standards.
Jody McAllister regional and
store visual presentation manager
Mannequins should always be handled with utmost care.
Their life span depends on their quality. If taken care of,
it should last a good five years, if not more.
Moyleen Lee visual merchandiser
at TFG (The Foschini Group)
In the shop where I work, they only have dressmaking dummies. They have had them for more than five years, and they
are very wobbly and starting to tilt forwards.
Jacob Dunbar volunteer visual merchandiser
at Oxfam and Cancer Research UK
Mannequins should last five years. If you can, change them
every t wo years with new styles. By doing this, you will keep
up the trends, and your windows and selling floors will look
fresh and amazing.
Yanni Briel national visual manager at Morecorp
It can depend on how busy your store is. People text and
push strollers into them, or parents are not watching kids.
Sometimes, people steal their hands as well.
Jodi Magee visual merchandising manager
Our clients tend to go with a cycle of three to five years,
[then] introduce a different mannequin altogether. Within
this time frame, they [can] refurbish to ensure the mannequin still looks fresh out of the box. A simple respray to a
do you expect mannequins to last?
new color can keep the department looking new. You also find retailers
introducing bespoke mannequins for special product launches.
James Davies head of new business at SFD
[Ideally,] a store should have a selection of mannequins they
can rotate to keep displays fresh.
All need to be handled with care. Painted finishes can
scratch and chip, or the body can fracture if dropped.
Dressmakers are more resilient, but they need to have their flanges tightened with a screwdriver periodically to avoid having a leaning lady or man.
In large chain stores and specialty stores, inventories of mannequins
can last about five years. Most major retailers either refurbish, replace
broken parts, or move the old mannequins to their lower-sales-volume
locations and continue to use them way beyond five years.
The worst damage to mannequins comes from untrained people removing clothing. If you invest in mannequins and trained personnel in sales
and visual, they will last more than five years. Ask your visual team to handle all changes. Since visual staff is not there every hour of every day,
ask your visual personnel to hold a training session for all managers.
A well-maintained mannequin, while costly at the onset, will serve as
an excellent silent salesperson.
Jessica Leslie owner of 22 Studio LLC
Most clients keep the three- to five-year [cycle], unless it is a
flagship or level A store that renovates faster. With current
technology, new designs are coming faster, allowing retailers to choose mannequins that create more empathy to the
Today, besides fiberglass, mannequins are made of PU and unbreakable molded or injected plastic with the color infused, [so] the store will
probably change the mannequin for fashion and freshness. I just visited a
Tommy Hilfiger store in Medellin and found a 9-year-old plastic mannequin
good as new and fully operative.
CEO at Expor Manequins
I was surprised by a comment at our Retail Design Collective last year
regarding how long a particular retailer expected their mannequins to last.
How often do you buy new mannequins? What kind of abuse do you expect
them to take?
Jo Rossman, LEED AP ID+C
editor at A.R.E./POPAI