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Topshop branded “irresponsible” for use of skinny mannequins

October 31st 2014 / Hanna Ibraheem


Fashion chain comes under fire for using mannequins that represent a “poor body image”

Global fashion brand Topshop found itself at the centre of a body image debate after an image concerning their mannequins went viral.

Student Becky Hopper tweeted an image of her friend Georgia Bibby standing next to a mannequin, writing, “The girl on the left is a size 8/10. #Topshop #poorbodyimage #irresponsible #fashion #highstreet”.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time a store has been pulled up over inappropriate mannequins. Becky's post has since been re-tweeted over 8,500 times and she has found her account flooded with similar complaints regarding "manne-thins". In May, lingerie brand La Perla came under fire for using mannequins with visible ribs. Following heavy criticism, the mannequins have since been removed.

Department store Debenhams, on the other hand, started using size 16 models in their windows to reflect the shape of a “real women”.

Mannequins typically represent a size 6/8 and stand at 6ft tall. However, the average British woman is a size 16 and is 5ft 4in in height.

Topshop have since released a statement, in which they said, “The mannequin in question has been used in stores the past four years and is based on a standard UK size 10. The overall height, at 187cm, is taller than the average girl and the form is a stylised one to have more impact in store and create a visual focus.”

They added, “Mannequins are made from solid fiberglass, so in order for clothing to fit, the form of the mannequins needs to be of certain dimensions to allow clothing to be put on and removed; this is therefore not meant to be a representation of the average female body.”

Despite overwhelming support, Becky has also been the target of angry messages, which have claimed that she is body-shaming skinny girls. Becky has since taken to her blog to explain herself.

She wrote, “This was definitely not our intention. We don’t have a bad word to say about skinny girls, we believe that all girls are beautiful and all should be comfortable in their own skin, whether they be a size 4 or a 24.

“The mannequins in Topshop are all this size [in her Twitter picture] and misrepresent a normal body image for their demographic – young influential girls. We accept that there are naturally very thin girls in the world – which again, we aren’t saying is a negative thing – but considering the average dress size for the UK female is a size 16, this mannequin is clearly way off the mark.”

What do you think about Topshop’s choice of mannequin? Does it promote a negative body image? Tweet us @getthegloss

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