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'Imperfection' Is True Beauty
By: Jennifer Graber
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Human bodies come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The potential combinations result in an infinite amount of possible body types. Some bodies may be short, tall, dark, light, thin, full, differently abled, and any other combination in between. Beauty is said to be in the eye of the beholder, but maybe it is time we all open our eyes just a bit wider. And why should any body type not be considered beautiful? After all, true beauty lies within our most human differences.
 
No matter what body type you possess, you want to have a certain sense of style. Every style is different and unique to an individual. The problem is, when you go shopping to fulfill that style you may not have a great number of options. Or, even worse, your body type may not be represented well at all. This, unfortunately, is often the case for those individuals blessed with being differently abled for one reason or another. For someone who is an amputee or a quadriplegic or otherwise abled, shopping in a store can be equated to entering a foreign land. Besides the lack of clothing options for differently abled individuals, there is the issue of the mannequins. When is the last time you saw a mannequin in a wheelchair, without a leg, or with spina bifida? The answer is likely — never.
 
Well, one organization is aiming to change that. Pro Infirmis, an advocacy group in Europe for the differently abled, is on a mission. And that mission was to help create mannequins that more accurately reflect the real individuals in the world — individuals who may have a handicap, but are just as beautiful and handsome. The pro-disability advocacy group partnered with individuals who have handicaps. These individuals were used as models to create “redesigned mannequins.” The featured models had a variety of handicaps including scoliosis, missing limbs, brittle bone disease, and more. The new mannequins boldly showed off the person’s handicap as a thing of beauty, rather than shying away from a different body type. The remodeled mannequins were then put on display in clothing shops on a main street in Zurich. The display was set up as part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The entire redesign process was caught on film and is, without a doubt, heartwarming and moving. And the video is a unique, beautiful testament to each individual.
 
This brand, this group — is seeking to change the world. What a great concept. Every body type, every person, deserves a bit of style and fashion in their lives. Would it not be wonderful if all clothing brands embraced that ideal? What if we could start seeing all body types mirrored back to us when we look at the mannequins in a store? What if we left no one out? If more brands took that brave first step to represent a wide variety of bodies, then it would not be long before others would do the same. Different is beautiful. Brands should seek to embrace that in any way they can.

   

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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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