Great design – like any form of High Art – speaks volumes about the values, hopes, fears, and dreams of contemporary culture. In today’s world, design – whether graphic, fashion, interior, or shopfitting – actually says MORE about the world we’re living in that other, more traditional, “High Art” forms like abstract painting or dance, that enjoy a dedicated, but highly specialized, audience.
Design is like everyday art, for everybody.
Mannequins have long served as anonymous receptacles for our hopes and aspirations, being blank and generic enough for nearly anybody to imagine ourselves enjoying the wares they’re peddling, no matter who you are.
Today’s consumers are proving remarkably resistant to this brand of bland, generic advertising, prompting savvy shopfitters and retail designers to update the still life figurines for today’s modern audience.
Shopfitting Trends: Modern Mannequins
Modern mannequins are getting fitted out with the latest, most innovative digital solutions, like nearly every aspect of commerce. Not only are retailers working signal beacons into their floor plans, alerting potentially interested shoppers to deals they might like in their vicinity, even the mannequins are getting in on the action.
High-tech retailers are incorporating touchscreens, digital displaas, and personalized messages, via the aforementioned signal beacons.
Some savvy designers are using technology to negate the anonymity that many critics accuse digital devices of cultivating. Rather than just being another figure in the crowd, another faceless member of a broad demographic, Los Angeles-based designer Chad Michael Morrisette of the design firm CM Squared Design, employed an innovative blend of display screens and digital camera, letting passers-by actually visualize themselves using the products.
Outdated technology is being employed, as well, to help mannequins stand out and say something distinctive. A Best Buy store on Michigan Ave. in Chicago recycled old technology by gluing motherboards and circuit boards to the lifelike sculptures, in a way that speaks to today’s concerns with upcycling and sustainability.
Also in Chicago, mannequins were a major part of last summer’s Project Windows competition, where Michigan Avenue retailers were invited to participate to help spread the word on a major Magritte retrospective that was happening at the Art Institute Of Chicago.
Not all of the technological innovations are so rosy and optimistic. There’s a new model of mannequin on the market, called the “bionic spy”, that features cameras in the eyes, to keep track of shoppers using facial recognition software. The “bionic spies” are able to log age, gender, and race into a database.
Last but not least, even traditional mannequins are getting a makeover. Sal Lenzo, the visual merchandiser for the legendary Bergdorf Goodman department store in NYC, has spoken on the usefulness of mannequins with detailed heads and faces, in telling a fashion narrative.
“If you’re going to use the mannequin to tell your story, to express your point of view, heads and faces simply have more personality. And heads with faces gives you the opportunity for accessorizing with hats, sunglasses, makeup, jewelry and the like,” stated Lenzo sagely.
Like every other aspect of retail, generic and hasty isn’t going to cut it, if you’re looking to stand out and get noticed in today’s competitive – but thrilling – retail world.
Want to find out how one of the Sunshine Coast’s leading shopfitters can help bring your storefront into the Future? Contact us today! We also offer comprehensive, competitively-priced commercial building maintenance packages for the Sunshine Coast, to help your business stay looking its best!
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