This Skinny-Mannequin Complaint Brought Out A Legit Customer-Service Response

Photo: Via Laura Berry/Facebook
A customer at one of Topshop’s U.K. locations took offense to an excessively skinny mannequin on display — and the fast-fashion chain responded in a pretty cool, rational way.

Laura Berry wrote a lengthy open letter to the retailer on Facebook: “Every day I am surrounded by strong women and men who struggle with the daily battle of body image….I’d love to hear how you can justify the ridiculously tiny mannequin in your Bristol Cribbs Causeway store? We come in all shapes and sizes."…P.S. just so you know, after taking this picture I used my size 10/12 legs to walk straight out of your store.”

So, how did the brand reply? Publicly and pretty reasonably — but also explaining the logistics behind their decision, and then promising change: “For some background the mannequin you saw in store is supplied by a company that has been working with lots of different retailers for the past 30 years. This particular style is used in a small number of our stores and is based on a standard UK size 10. The overall height [6 feet 2 inches] is taller than the average girl and the form is stylised to have more impact in store,” the retailer wrote last week.

Topshop also highlighted some logistical reasons for the overly skinny forms in their response: “As the mannequins are solid fiberglass, their form needs to be of certain dimensions to allow clothing to be put on and removed easily; this is therefore not meant to be a representation of the average female body.”

The retailer didn’t specifically say they’d be scrapping the offending mannequin, but they won’t be buying any more: “…going forward we are not placing any further orders on this style of mannequin.” Customer-service win!

Does this situation trigger a bit of déjà vu? In October, a Topshop customer in London called out the chain on Twitter by posting a photo of herself standing next to a mannequin with extremely skinny gams, with the hashtag #poorbodyimage. The retailer replied with the same exact two paragraphs excerpted above — but without promising any action. Hey, it’s minor progress in terms of body-shame-inducing merchandising, but we’ll take it.

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