Retail is a brutal game, with many stores reporting losses year on year due to harsh economic climates and a modern day penchant for upcycling. Stores need to get more competitive in order to make you choose their merchandise, and design company NMinusOne has come up with a novel way to entice consumers to buy clothes.
They’ve taken the notion that clothes are a way of displaying identity and created a mannequin that will give potential new fashion purchases your personal scent. I don’t know if I ever feel that I need my clothing to smell like me (normally a few spritzes of Jo Malone are good enough) but I think the logic is that everyone subtly imbues clothing with small secretions, so having a connection with clothes you are yet to buy might be an encouraging step.
NMinusOne designed a unique looking robo-mannequin called the Hu-Mannequin Project which connects the mannequin to a chair with a selection of ducts, fans and air pumps. The consumer sits on the chair, and their personal smell (think ice cream and summer sweat) is filtered through the tubes and emanates from the mannequin.
If you are just passing the mannequin, it can also be loaded with preset enticing smells to lure you into looking at it, and then once seated it will focus on your smell. It raises a few questions for me;Won’t the mannequin smell of other people? What about farts? Does the olfactory sense really influence fashion purchases? – but I do love how they are thinking in a novel way about the expression of purchasing and trying to reach out in a space that’s still pretty new.
It’s well documented that stores pump fresh bread and cookie scents around to make customers hungry, thus inducing more novelty buys, but can this really translate into clothing? I’m not convinced but I will enjoy seeing what new esoteric creations people devise in a bid to make money!