I first noticed or, rather, stood aghast in front of fashion retailer All Saints’ window display in Cambridge back last summer, and was surprised to see it still going strong in the Derby store this weekend. As you can see, it features headless black mannequins hanging from chains (apologies for the poor picture quality; I only had my phone on me, but you can see other photos in the article linked to below).
Just to repeat, that’s headless black mannequins hanging from chains.
I must admit that I’ve noticed an increase in the use of black mannequins recently, but white is still the default, so to actively choose to display black mannequins – and headless ones at that – in a manner so clearly reminiscent of the racist lynchings of black people in the US seems like deliberately offensive, publicity seeking provocation to me.
A quick google search reveals that the displays have been around since October 2007, and were indeed met with complaints (plus the usual counter-cries of political correctness gone mad). The company’s response? The mannequins ‘look good’ and aren’t black, they’re grey. Anyone else smelling bullshit?