This is how you make a meaningful statement about inclusion and the nature of humanity through the notoriously fickle and judgmental fashion industry. Watch the making of the new campaign "Because who is perfect? Get closer" from Pro Infirmis, an organization advocating legislation to better serve the needs of people with disabilities.
Pro Infirmis teamed up with a department store in Zurich to create mannequins drawn from the real life measurements and body proportions of people with disabilities. The mannequins were displayed in the storefront windows as part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3. The store employees dressed them in off the rack clothing altered like any other window display to show off the figure of the mannequins (pins, clips, etc.).
The video is really well done and the entire campaign is a stroke of genius. It's holiday time. Department stores around the world put up elaborate displays to draw in shoppers looking for the perfect gift. When else will the inclusion of five mannequins copied from five real people with varying disabilities--brittle bone disease, amputees, a woman with a malformed spine--draw as much attention without creating a huge media blitz that could turn the campaign into a side show?
By not announcing their participation at the stores, Pro Infirmis made a much stronger statement about inclusion. There is no othering here. These are the mannequins inspired by real people used in the store that day, same as any other mannequin hanging out in front of any other holiday display. The mannequins drew attention, sure, but the care in manufacturing and presentation made them fit in among their other dummies in the other store fronts.
Pro Infirmis is advocating for human rights. Everyone should be able to have their physical needs met around the world. Campaigns like this are designed to break down preconceived notions of differences by forcing people to see a person with a disability as a person, period. Working for a future where everyone views their fellow human beings, regardless of physical, emotional, and mental differences, as human beings just like them is how everyone moves closer to being truly equal.