By Albert Lin
JCPenney is displaying five “real people” mannequins at its Manhattan Mall store in New York City through August.
The mannequins were created for the Today show as part of its “Love Your Selfie” campaign before being loaned to JCPenney. The retailer, which is No. 48 in the DiversityInc Top 50, is using them to highlight its new tagline: “When It Fits, You Feel It.”
The mannequins are modeled after:
Dawna Callahan, who uses a wheelchair because of paralysis;
Neil Duncan, a former Army paratrooper who lost parts of both legs in Afghanistan;
Ricardo Gil, who has dwarfism;
Desiree Hunter, a 6-1 1/2 basketball player;
and Beth Ridgeway, a plus-size mother.
An inscription on the window of the display reads in part: “At JCPenney, we are committed to fitting our customers as they areall shapes, sizes and styles. That’s why we’re proud to display these ‘Perfect the Way They Are’ mannequins.”
“JCPenney understands that we’ve been fitting the diversity of America for over 100 years; we’ve been doing it broadly across the country for a long time. We understand, and we like to say, ‘Fit is our superpower,” said Debra Berman, Senior Vice President of Marketing for JCPenney.
“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. And that’s what we’ve been doingthat’s the business we understand we’re in.”
A JCPenney shopper told Today: “I think it’s time that stores embrace the fact that we’re all different. We come in all different sizes, heights, weights.”
JCPenney’s inclusive message is in stark contrast to that delivered by another retailer, Abercrombie and Fitch, which doesn’t stock anything above a size 10. J. Crew also drew fire last week when it introduced a new size 000 (that’s three zeros) for women with a 23-inch waist.
“Beauty isn’t a size or shape, it’s your heart and your mind,” Ridgeway said in April when the mannequins were first revealed on Today. “I hope it opens people’s eyes.”