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Debenhams to try out size 16 dummies

Debenhams hopes to promote a healthier body image for women as it prepares for the Irish debut of its new size 16 mannequins.

The department store began the trial run for its new larger size dummies in London's Oxford Street after an increase in consumer demand to attract clothes for more 'normal' looking women.

Most retailers use standard size 10 mannequins to model their clothes, however the average woman wears a size 14 to 16, and the store is hopeful that customers will react positively to the new models.

A spokesperson for the store said that they felt it was the perfect time to debut the larger mannequins as the size zero debate has kicked off again.

"The idea behind this is to gain customer insight and feedback. There will be signage placed next to the cluster of mannequins asking customers, 'I'm a size 16, do you want to see more of me?' and, if so, please give your feedback to a member of staff," the spokesperson explained.

The store said that it already prides itself on stocking up to a size 24 and felt it was time to bring more attention to a healthier looking model.

"They will be coming to Ireland next month. It's something we've been looking into for some time but there's a real focus on healthier body image at the moment.

"We're just catering to consumer demand -- it's what people want," the spokesperson added.

The mannequins will soon be displayed at some of the biggest shopping areas in the country and the North.

Next month, they will start their tour at the capital's Henry Street store before travelling down to Patrick Street in Cork and Castlecourt in Belfast.