Since the lockdown in March, many things in our world has changed. Besides the fact that much of the country is in shutdown, we are also getting used to new rules and trends, such as masks, plastic partitions, virtual interactions, and refraining from any social interactions that involve touching (like hand shakes and hugs). It’s a whole new world, and humans once again prove that during challenging times the creative mind can produce some entertaining solutions.
Later this year I will be releasing my second book, Mannequins: Stories of the First Supermodel. In my book, I explore the history of mannequins and how they have played an important role in our society. These fashion figures reflect the social norms of the time, showing what is popular and desirable to own. When stores began closing their doors due to the pandemic shutdown, I wondered what would become of mannequins. So much of their existence is dependent on people shopping in brick and mortar stores. A friend sent me an article from The Guardian, which reported that restaurants were using mannequins and blow up dolls to occupy some of the tables to creatively implement social distancing. While some people might be a little freaked out to sit next to a table with mannequins, I thought this was a brilliant idea. Mannequins are well-dressed, quiet, and they don’t judge or call you names. They also don’t require face masks or partitioned bubbles to socially distance. They’re a nostalgic reminder of how life used to be only several months ago.
The repercussions from COVID-19 are extensive and they will last a very long time, affecting generations of people in ways that we haven’t even begun to imagine. Thousands of restaurants from all over the country will never reopen. Many of our daily interactions have been converted into virtual communications. We frequently hear #AloneTogether and contactless. Therefore, I’m especially amused and happy that businesses are giving mannequins this new role. Throughout history, mannequins have served as ambassadors and featured the latest fashion and lifestyle trends, so maybe they can now remind us of what it means to be human as we navigate this challenging time.