Katherine Baker photographed the mannequin in Oasis in Westfield London
Katherine Baker photographed the mannequin in Oasis in Westfield London

Oasis mannequin with 'disgustingly skinny' legs and inhuman proportions sparks outrage

The fashion chain said its stylised mannequins 'do not intended to symbolise real people' or realistic proportions

Lizzie Dearden
Friday 23 October 2015 11:45
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A photo of an Oasis mannequin with “disgustingly skinny” legs and impossible proportions has provoked outrage as fashion brands are urged to use more realistic dummies.

Rhiannon Cosslett was sent the image, taken at the chain’s Westfield London branch, by a friend and posted it on Twitter saying: “This is disgusting, damaging and irresponsible @oasisfashion, not to mention really weird.”

And many women seemed to agree. “Ffs is this a joke,” one commenter wrote. “Sticks as legs???”

One inventive Twitter user edited the photo to make the feet into hands, suggesting that Oasis mistakenly used arms as “spare parts”.

Ms Cosslett, a freelance writer who co-founded The Vagenda blog, said most respondents agreed that the mannequin looked “ridiculous” and unlike a human body.

She told The Independent some people had argued that dummies should not be taken seriously and that young women do not aspire to look like them.

“This spectacularly misses the point,” Ms Cosslett said. “All aspects of the fashion industry encourage exaggerated thinness and across all media, women are being sent the message that they look rubbish in clothes unless they essentially annihilate their curves and starve themselves in order to attempt to adhere to a body type that only a small percentage of women naturally have.

“The clothes on the mannequin are the clothes that you buy to put on your body, after all, yet no human bodies look like that.”

She also dismissed allegations of “skinny shaming”, saying most people only wanted to see more diversity in fashion.

“Why can't fashion celebrate all types of women?” the writer asked. “Having boobs and an arse is, for many women, a terminal condition with no cure. Why not start recognising that.”

Topshop removed this type of mannequin from its stores after receiving similar criticism

Oasis is the latest high street fashion chain to be criticised for its mannequins, following Topshop, Primark and Karen Millen.

Ms Cosslett said little appeared to have changed in the wake of the controversies, adding: “The shops simply claim they are not supposed to resemble women's bodies, but if they are so stylised, why put clothes made for women's bodies on them in the first place?”

Oasis said the mannequins were “not intended to symbolise real people”, standing at more than 6ft tall and lacking faces.

“Our store mannequins are highly stylised to represent an artistic prop and are in no way any attempt to accurately portray true-to-life proportions,” a spokesperson added.

“Oasis is committed to understanding the concerns of our customers and understand the recent debates which have unfolded and therefore the business is in the process of reviewing new mannequins’ styles.”

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