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Debenhams Breaks New Ground with National Disabled Model Campaign

  • Published: 2010-09-14 : Author: Debenhams
  • Synopsis: Debenhams launches a national window campaign featuring a disabled model in all of its 160 stores.

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Debenhams has become the first retailer on the British high street to launch a national window campaign featuring a disabled model in all of its 160 stores in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

The ground breaking imagery features disabled model Shannon Murray, along with additional photography, mannequins and products in a display to launch the Debenhams autumn winter womens-wear.

The innovative display follows an approach by Nikki Fox and Natasha Wood, both disability campaigners and presenters of the hit TV show, How to Look Good Naked, which led to a trial using Shannon in three stores earlier this year. The pilot resulted in some of the most responsive and positive feedback the retailer has ever received prompting Debenhams to take new shots and roll out across all its stores.

The move comes as a natural next step for Debenhams following campaigns featuring plus size and petite models, un-airbrushed swim models and size 16 mannequins - all since the start of 2010.

Debenhams hopes the latest move will encourage other retailers to follow suit and be more versatile.

Celebrity stylist, presenter of 'How to Look Good Naked' and inclusivity campaigner, Gok Wan, commented: "After months and months of hard work, this is some of the best imagery I have seen on the British high street ... ever.

"It is so inclusive and fabulous. This, for me, is bigger than anything else I have ever personally worked on and I have never been so proud in my entire life."

Michael Sharp, Debenhams' Deputy Chief Executive said: "We cater for men and women of all shapes and sizes, young and old, non-disabled and disabled. So following on from our initial work with Shannon and the How to Look Good Naked team, we wanted to make a commitment to continuing with this inclusive approach.

Shannon Murray, the disabled model who features in the new Debenhams window campaign added: "I am delighted to be working with Debenhams again and I applaud their dedication to represent real women on the high street.

"I'm hoping that eventually other brands will follow Debenhams' lead and recognize the diversity of their customers."

Nikki Fox praised the store for using Shannon in its campaign: "It was a very proud moment for me when Debenhams agreed to cast our beautiful disabled model Shannon for such a huge campaign, but what is even more exciting is how Debenhams have continued their commitment to using Shannon.

"Debenhams is the first on the high street to regularly use a disabled model and it's great that they have done so because they passionately believe in representing everyone. I am very proud of what we have all achieved."

Mark Stevens, Head of Creative at Debenhams, and who heard Nikki and Natasha's original pitch added: "We are committed to using a variety of models in our photography, and have had a fantastic reaction to our work with Shannon so far.

"This second photo shoot and larger scale campaign was a natural next step as we aim to be as representative and inclusive of our customers as possible. I've no doubt we will carry on using disabled models in a variety of shoots in the future."

The images can be seen in Debenhams' womens-wear autumn winter launch windows in all stores across the UK and Ireland.

Debenhams is also trialling a revolutionary new wheelchair display product called a Mannequal in its Oxford Street window. Debenhams will be asking customers for feedback on this over the coming weeks.

About Debenhams - Debenhams is a leading department stores group, and has a strong presence in key product categories including dresses, womens shoes, handbags, bridal lingerie, mens shoes and clothing, home ware and children's wear with a number of Debenhams deals also on offer.

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