A Swiss charity has created mannequins based on the bodies of disabled people in a bid to raise awareness that no one has a perfect body. Pro Infirmis, an organisation for people with disabilities, worked with people suffering from scoliosis (a curved spine), shortened limbs and a woman in a wheelchair. Each had a mannequin made to perfectly reflect their body shape – which, to their delight, was then displayed in a high street store in Zurich’s main shopping street.
The project was devised to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities this week.
Called ‘Because who is perfect? Get closer’, the story is captured in a moving four-minute film directed by Alain Gsponer.
The film follows four volunteers who enter a warehouse with trepidation.
The models are radio host and film critic Alex Oberholzer, Miss Handicap 2010 Jasmine Rechsteiner, athlete Urs Kolly, actor Erwin Aljukić and blogger Nadja Schmid.
Each is measured before mannequins are painstakingly crafted to mirror their bodies.
Each person returns to the warehouse to see their carefully created model – hidden under a blanket when they first enter.
The film captures the remarkable moment each person sees their unique sculpture – and reveals the internal struggle some of those involved have accepting their appearance.
Upon seeing her mannequin, one woman declares: ‘It’s special to see yourself like this, when you usually can’t look at yourself in the mirror.’
Viewers then see the mannequins carefully dressed and placed in the front window in a shop on Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s main downtown street.
Far from the tall, curve free models seen worldwide, passers-by see a a woman with a curved spine, or a man or woman in a wheelchair.
One model said: ‘Seeing it there for real is quite a shock.’
This, says the charity Pro Infirmis, is the point of the campaign. It hopes to raise awareness of people with disabilities, specifically in the image-obsessed worlds of fashion and retail.