Professional Family Sewing Adjustable Dress Form, made by very strong material Natural body shaped with realistic buttock Pin-able, easily and smooth adjust to any size Excellent Fitting System in the fashion industry Professional Family Sewing Adjustable Dress Form can adjust Back Neck to Back Waist, Front Neck to Front Waist.
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Like most great designers throughout history, high fashion started from the humblest of beginnings. Born in the back alleys of Paris, it has grown up into a global business that commands the attention of millions. From the very first haute couture house to the evolution of the dress form mannequin as a symbol of modernity, the history of fashion is full of triumphs, failures, and controversies.
The Birth of Haute Couture
Modern luxury fashion was born in France in the mid-nineteenth century when a British immigrant named Charles Frederick Worth established his Paris clothing business. Like so many other shops around the great city, his store made garments for the crème de la crème of French society, only Worth’s outlet came with a revolutionary twist.
A Brand is Born – Rather than slavishly follow current trends, Worth decided to imprint his own sense of creativity on the clothes he produced. With just enough hubris to style himself a “designer,” as opposed to a simple dressmaker, he pioneered the idea of the branded fashion house. In the process, he became the world’s first true couturier.
Catering to the tastes of the style-conscious upper-class women who dominated the Paris social scene, Worth began to make a name for himself. Where once a customer would demand a certain dress in a certain cut, Worth would instead recommend a look, making himself (and not the people he dressed) the final arbiter of taste. His creations were so distinct that when a woman wearing one of his designs walked into the city’s fashionable salons, onlookers could say, “There goes a Worth dress.”
Thus emerged the concept of haute couture, although the phrase itself wouldn’t appear until 1908. For well into the next century, French designers would dominate this world of high fashion.
A City of Fashion Luminaries
French superiority was nothing new. The center of everything chic since at least the seventeenth century, Paris had long been the world’s foremost trendsetter. Throughout the eighteenth and well into the nineteenth century, every well-to-do woman desired nothing but the latest Paris fashions.
Members of high society from Saint Petersburg to Virginia would make regular trips to Paris to copy the latest fabrics, cuts, and dyes. For those who couldn’t make the arduous journey, there were always fashion dolls, the precursors to modern dress form mannequins. By shipping these dolls from capital to capital, the rich and powerful of the day could show off the latest Paris looks to friends in distant climes.
France wasn’t the only beacon on the horizon. The British also exerted their influence, particularly on men’s dress. Even so, London never could match the seductive charm of the French capital. For centuries, women throughout Europe saw Paris as the epitome of vogue.
An Elite Game – The nineteenth century brought added advantages to Parisian dressmakers—namely the creation of cultural institutions designed to protect the high standards and elite image of the best Paris fashion houses.
It began in 1868, a mere ten years after Worth opened his fashion house, when Le Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture rose up out of the bourgeoning Paris fashion scene to become the official guardian of all things exclusive. From the moment of its inception, Le Chambre and only Le Chambre would decide what was and what was not “high fashion.” Henceforth, designers would have to earn the right to wear the coveted couture label.
Fashion for All, All for Fashion
At the other end of the social and economic spectrum, new attitudes and technologies were facilitating the democratization of the garment industry. It had to do with the rise of confection, or ready-to-wear clothes.
At the same time Charles Worth was transforming the high end of the market, the industrial revolution was shaking up the low and middle ends of the industry. New manufacturing techniques allowed for the mass production of clothes. Of course, those pre-made garments had to be displayed somewhere.
The Birth of the Mannequin – That somewhere was in the windows of department stores of the world, where signature pieces were placed on mannequins, positioned under new electric lights, marked with a fixed price, and shown off to potential customers. Wooden dress forms had been in use by royalty since the days of King Tut, but now the first full-bodied modern mannequin, unveiled by the French in 1870, became enlisted in the cause of accessible fashion.
The whole world came to gaze and gape at these new figures adorned in the latest fads. No longer did women have to belong to the best society to admire the latest cuts. In spite of the occasional meltdown (wax mannequins did have a tendency to dissolve under the glare of a powerful lamp), business flourished. While haute couture houses set the trends, fashion now began to trickle down to the rest of society, and the mannequin helped bring it there.
From Temperamental Men to Hard-Headed Women
Here Come the Tyrants – In those first heady days of high fashion, the business was dominated by male designers like Paul Poiret. Along with Worth, Poiret originated the archetype of the exalted and tyrannical couturier. Ruling over his shop like a dictator, he was extravagant, temperamental, egotistical, and demanding. Like so many fashion designers today, he garnered at least as much attention as his attire, and not all of it favorable.
From Poiret’s exotic, Arabian Nights inspired line of dresses to his groundbreaking foray into the world of fragrances (now a staple of the industry), the irascible Frenchman helped to establish the pattern that would come to define haute couture for over a century.
Step Aside, Gentlemen – Following in Poiret’s wake, a new generation of female designers would carry the industry well into the twentieth century—and an entirely new era in high-end attire.
It started with names like Jeanne Lanvin, whose rather conservative and noticeably feminine style would make hers the longest-running fashion house in the world, and Madeleine Vionnet, whose sensually free-flowing designs helped free women from the dreaded corset (one of at least three designers, including Poiret and Coco Chanel, to lay claim to that rebellion).
Protecting the Brand – Vionnet was also one of the principal agents in the creation of L’Association de Protection des Industries Artistiques Saisonnieres (PAIS), an institution designed to protect the intellectual property of Paris’ couturiers.
Vionnet, who would use her 80cm-high wooden dress form mannequin to design each piece of apparel with painstaking care, was angered by attempts of plagiarists to copy and sell her one-of-a-kind designs. Then one day she had an idea: She would use her treasured mannequin to photograph her pieces from every angle. That way, no one could steal her designs with impunity. Thus, some of the very first dressmaker forms helped cement the position of some of the very first designers.
The Most Famous Name in Fashion – As the twentieth century progressed, so too did fashion, and it matured under the tutelage of figures like Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, arguably the most famous designer ever to walk the face of the earth.
Chanel, a hard-headed woman who rose from abject poverty to stunning success through a series of amorous liaisons, helped pave the way for fashion to enter the world of big business. With the advent of the fashion show, the expansion of photography, and the ever-widening circulation of magazines, the world grew smaller and business grew bigger.
Chanel, among a number of others, took advantage of these trends to imprint her own style on the clothes of the day. Her emphasis on simplicity, and her hatred of all things fussy and frilly, combined with her desire to liberate women from the impediments of elaborate dresses, left its mark and culminated in that enduring staple of modern chic: the little black dress.
As outfits evolved, so too did the mannequins that displayed them. From the big-busted and tiny-waisted models of the corset-wearing nineteenth century to the stylishly debauched figures of the roaring twenties, these mock-ups reflected the changing tastes (and controversies) of the new century.
Fashion in the Here and Now
With the dawn of World War II came trouble for the French fashion industry in the form of German occupation and increased competition from abroad, particularly the United States. After the war, the country made a comeback with Christian Dior’s “New Look” collection, but things had changed, and everyone knew it.
Throughout the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, the industry went through its fair share of ups and downs. From the freestanding boutique of Yves Saint Laurent to the mod styles of London’s Carnaby Street (the miniskirt, anyone?), vogue began to take on a whole new meaning.
By 1970, stricter high-fashion guidelines had knocked a number of fashion houses off the haute couture list. The recession of the early twenty-first century also forced designers like Gianni Versace to eliminate fashion shows for almost a decade.
A Big and Glamorous World – With the dawn of yet another era, fashion has begun to emerge from the troubles with as much luster as ever. These days, a new generation is leaving its footprint on the industry. Nowadays, young faces are placing a greater emphasis on diversity and inclusivity. With the debut of Rad Hourani’s first-ever unisex couture collection, the rise of plus size dress forms, and the launch of the first Shanghai fashion show, today’s industry is all about breaking boundaries.
Newer, Better Dress Forms – It’s also about perfecting the art of making clothes. With a wealth of resources at their disposal, designers now have more options for bringing the latest fashions to a wider range of people. No longer do mannequins melt in the sun or come in one, model-thin size. Today, PGM Dress Form offers a full range of figures with realistic body shapes, high density felt coverings, and sizes that range from little girls to plus-sized men and women, so designers can shape garments that fit every individual.
With more opportunities and better materials for aspiring fashionistas—designer, fashion magazine editor, brand representative, visual merchandiser—the industry still lures plenty of ambitious up-and-comers from all over the world. There is little doubt these newcomers will continue to revolutionize the world of fashion, much like the trailblazing couturiers who went before them.
For information on how to measure a dress form, visit our industry grade dress form page.
Window displays across the globe may soon be getting a makeover.
For years now, the fashion world has opened its arms to plus-sized models like Ashley Graham, Olivia Campbell, and Zach Miko. Now, they’re also beginning to catch on to the need for plus-sized sewing mannequins.
From a student petition for fuller-figured dressmaker forms at the Parsons School of Design (which has already garnered nearly 8,500 signatures) to the unveiling of U.K. retailer Debenhams’ new size 16 mannequins, the normally skinny world of fashion seems to be embracing a wider and fuller range of body types.
That’s good news for advocates of body inclusivity, who say change has been slow in coming. For them, the shift toward more realistic mannequins is long past overdue. Finally, a revolution is underway, and those who believe in promoting a more positive and realistic body image are heralding the coming day when inclusivity will be the new norm. Better late than never.
Revolution or Trend?
Of course, the war is hardly won. Life isn’t a fairytale, and not everyone is in the mood to celebrate. While a number of designers, schools, and retailers have jumped on board joyfully, adding fuller clothes, models, and mannequins to their lineup, others are dragging their heels, resisting what they see as unwanted change (apparently the nonbelievers include some TV networks).
These naysayers are fighting back. Body positivity may be the latest in a long line of fashion trends, they say, but it will hardly last. The plus-sized revolution will be over and forgotten before you can say “fashion week.”
But, will it? Advocates of body inclusivity say, “Not so fast.” The truth is that the move is part trend, part business, part tectonic shift in attitudes about body image.
Changing Perceptions, Changing Hearts
At the heart of the matter is the debate over body image. Those who lobby for more inclusive sizing say it is about making clothes that real women feel comfortable wearing. It’s about reshaping attitudes toward the female form and expanding the heretofore narrow definition of “acceptable.” It’s about ensuring that dress forms in shop windows from Los Angeles to Hong Kong faithfully represent all women, not just the waif-like models who pose for glamour magazines.
They have a point. The average woman in the U.S. wears a size 14, and the average woman in the U.K. is not far behind. According to the fashion world, that puts them on the plus side. Hence the relative scarcity of size 14 mannequins in stores and design schools from New York to London.
An increasing number of people, however, believe it is the fashion world that is on the minus side of normal. These critics of the status quo have the numbers on their side. While a size two may be average on the runway, it’s far from common on the street.
Pitting Art Against Life, Truth Against Fiction
Of course, “normal” is a tricky concept, and the very idea of normality is at the center of the heated debate currently raging in the opinionated world of fashion. The question of the day is: Should models represent the ideal, or the real? Should the mannequins that adorn shop windows symbolize an ethereal principal, or the actual women who stop to gaze at them?
The truth is, many consider fashion to be an art form. According to one school of thought, designers strive to embody a conceptual form, an ideal for which to strive, not an inch-by-inch copy of the average woman. At the very least, artists who design clothes shouldn’t be told how to create their works of art. The shape, size, and form of a piece of clothing should be off-limits to the champions of social change.
Others say bosh to that. While apparel design might very well be an art form, there’s no ironclad rule that says art has to represent the imaginary. From da Vinci’s Mona Lisa to Canova’s statue of Paolina Borghese Bonaparte, the history of representation is chock full of stunningly real women. So, why have designers and retailers been so hesitant to illustrate the beauty of the everyday?
Reflecting the Market
That question becomes all the more pressing as consumer expectations shift. Idealistic notions aside, fashion is not, strictly speaking, a conceptual art form. It’s an applied art form. It is a business. That means retailers must cater to their customer base.
With 67% of apparel consumers spending more than $17 billion on larger sized outfits every year, it’s becoming more and more difficult for retailers to ignore the plus size market. Throw in the fact that female shoppers are significantly more likely to buy an outfit when they see it worn by a like-size model, and it simply makes good business sense to diversify representations.
It’s not just women, either. While the push for inclusivity has typically centered on the notion of female body image, it has recently expanded to include gentlemen as well. Plus-size male models are also beginning to make their presence felt in the fashion world, and that is only upping the stakes for designers and retailers.
Perhaps that’s why the world of fashion is finally standing up and taking notice. From designer Rachel Roy’s decision to come out with a “Curvy” line, to H&M’s use of full-sized models in their runway shows, the revolution has officially started. In fact, so many have stepped up to the plate in recent months that 2016 could well be considered the year of inclusivity.
Creating a Positive Ideal
Of course, it’s not all dollars and cents. While the bottom line may have something to do with changing perceptions, it’s hardly the main driver behind the push for a greater selection of plus size dress forms.
Instead, advocates say it is more about making men and women feel good about themselves. By presenting an unattainable ideal, they say, designers are helping form dangerous misperceptions and fomenting the kind of mean-spirited comments that litter the Twitter-verse these days. That puts unnecessary pressure on the vast majority of people, particularly women, to conform to an impossible archetype.
In this world of virtual trolls and hobgoblins, it’s hard enough for a woman to wake up every morning feeling good about herself, and tricky enough to get through an entire day with her chin up and her head held high; she doesn’t need an entire business dedicated to promoting an unrealistic standard of beauty.
With so many virtual (and real-life) ogres preying on the insecurities of women who may not fit a size zero mold, some are demanding action, and they’re placing the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of designers and retailers.
A Healthy Ideal
As always, there is a counterargument. Some say it’s not about image; it’s about health. Detractors claim that heavy-set models and their mannequin counterparts are guilty of normalizing unhealthy lifestyles. With obesity an ever-growing problem, why should the fashion industry promote an unwholesome image?
If only the connection between weight and health were so straightforward, they might have a point. The truth is that what is healthy for one woman may not be healthy for another. For a woman whose body type is more suited to a size 12, dieting to squeeze into that size 6 dress may be the unhealthy choice.
Not only that, but many cry foul when fashion insiders fall back on the health argument. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical, after all? An industry that has long encouraged eating disorders by featuring excessively thin models is hardly in the position to speak about healthy dietary habits.
Forming the Next Generation of Fashion Designers
Nowadays, with so many young designers taking on the challenge of fashioning plus size clothes, the demand for more realistic dress forms will only increase.
That’s essentially what the Parsons School of Design petition states. Created by junior Nayyara Chue, the appeal is one sign among many that the next generation of budding designers is more conscious than ever about the need to promote body positivity. Chue, who says she had to create her own mannequin out of duct tape, argues that schools should be supplying students with more dressmaker forms that range from size 18 to 24.
With a greater number of students choosing to design clothes for an increasing consumer base, it’s no wonder there are more calls than ever for fuller sized mannequins in the nation’s fashion schools. As perceptions change, and the market grows, that trend is likely to endure well into the future.
For information regarding measuring for plus size clothing and dress form options, visit our plus size dress form page.
– You can see the entire form while still standing near enough to make changes to the design.
– The eye can accurately gauge the best proportions for the body and the design.
– You can better predict the behavior of the fabric.
– The design can be created in the actual fashion fabric, since so little is used; its characteristics
can be used to the best effect in the design.
– To exhibit your design work, enabling “see” the garment much more clearly.
– Students can learn construction skills without having to worry about fit and they feel more willing
to try a technique without having to wear it.
– The garment pieces are small enough that students can see which end is up.
– And finally, the student has a permanent sample that can always be checked again for how-to.
PGM Garment Rack – Choosing PGM unique Garment Rack for your boutique store result in special décor not seen elsewhere. PGM design various style of Garment Rolling Rack for your selections such as, antique metal dress form display, vintage metal pants form mannequin, 4-way racks, 3-way racks, 2-way racks, hat racks, shoe racks, wall mount racks, revolving jewelry racks, necklace racks, earring racks, spinner rack and much more! All PGM Garment Racks are designed by raw-steel wrought iron style that’s both durable and elegant.
Boutique style needs to be unique and eye catching. PGM Garment Rack does just that! You’ll want customers to remember your store in a positive & enchanting way. Whether it is trendy, vintage, classic or minimalist, your store fixtures require PGM garment racks to match the image that you want to portray.
Vintage and antique style garment racks create a very sharp and trendy feeling to your store! They have curls and textured metals that bring life to your store as well decorating your boutiques with style! Unique angled hanging bars and decorative shelving gives you many options for merchandising your apparel.
PGM vintage Metal Dress Forms Mannequin, Metal Pants Form makes great window displays. You can put a unique flair on everything that you show, while branding the image of your store. Choosing the right garment racks can make a big difference in the eyes of your customers.
PGM also design Paper Mache Hangers, which are recycled and green to environment!
PGM full line Dress Forms are all standard sized, natural body shaped with realistic buttock and collopsible shoulders, excellent choice for professional fashion designer, fashion education, fashion industry, fashion students…..
PGM also accept any special sizes dress form custom made.
To better meet your design purpose, select a correct size dress form is very important.
Below are some measuring key point reference to help you on how to measure your dress form and body measurement.
1. Neck Base
To find the base of the neck, have the person tilt his or her head forward.
You’ll see a knobby bone in back , round the measure tape at this point to
make full circle.
2. Neck Middle
At 1″ above Neck Base, measure around.
From side neck point (where the neck meets shoulder) to shoulder point (the
upper arm bone).
At backside of body, from one shoulder point to another shoulder point.
4″ down from Back Neck Point, measuring from edge to edge (reference
1″ down from Front Neck Point, measuring from edge to edge (reference
7. Bust Around Neck
Put the measuring tape at one bust point, around back neck to another bust
Measuring full circle around bust points (apex) and back point (see image).
Please note: back point location will be different depending on the body size.
9. Upper Bust
About 3″ – 4″ above Bust Point, measuring circle around back point ( see
image). Please note: 3″ -4″, or more will be different depending on the body
10. Apex to Apex
Measuring from bust point to bust point.
At waist line, measuring from central line to princess line.
Measuring full circle around waist points.
4″ down from waist point, measuring full circle. Please note: 4″ or… will be
different depending on the body size.
8″ down from waist points, measuring full circle. Please note: 8″ or….. will
be different depending on the body size.
15. Total Crotch
From front waist point , go under to back waist point.
16. Max Thigh
1″ down from crotch, measuring around.
17. Middle Thigh
Measuring around from the middle of Max Thigh and Knee.
Measuring around knee.
Measuring around calf.
Measuring around ankle.
Running vertically down the inside of the leg, measuring from crotch to the
Measuring vertically down from the outside of the leg, from waist line to
PGM Dress Form’s donation to Amani Ya Juu Foundation in Africa.
The Amani Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to shortening the boundaries of marginalization in African countries. With the Amani Ya Juu project, “Higher Peace” project, the Amani Foundation gives marginalized women from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and other African countries an opportunity for self sustainment. This organization gives women the required education and training to improve their sewing and draping skills.
PGM is proud be part of this opportunity as PGM believes in education, equality, and the pursuit of your dreams. As a company, we donated high quality Dress Forms as well as Pattern Making Tools to Amani Foundation. It gives us a chance to give back to the community and we are blessed to be part of this sponsorship! PGM is thrilled to be their partner in the years to come as we believe in fashion without borders.
“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give!”
PGM believes just that! That’s exactly why PGM have been a proud sponsor of Worldwide Education Sponsorship Program, Fashion Show Sponsorship program and Outstanding Student Designer award for as long as we remember!
I finally have been able to take some photos of the dress forms! Attached
are three photos. The Amani Ladies love working with the PGM forms,
they are so grateful to learn new things and always want to see the latest
design on the dress form!
Thank you so much for blessing Amani Liberia with these.