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Zu Zu Fashion Boutique brings back the living mannequin

Downtown shop is keeping it real with live models, including BarrieToday's Sue Sgambati

The windows have come to life at Zu Zu Fashion Boutique on Dunlop Street with living models.

"Look at that mannequin. She looks real!" a passerby is overheard to say.

That's because the mannequin is real - and it's me.

I gave window modelling a shot Friday afternoon and it's a fascinating point of view from the inside looking out.

Some people walk by lost in their own thoughts or focussed on a destination.

But others get the fun and enjoy the novelty of seeing a real person in a store window.

Shop owner Tracey Baker started the idea in May during the Fresh Air Fridays campaign for downtown businesses.

She wanted customers to model but no one was brave enough so she did the window duties herself.

It was an interesting and fun experience.

"A lot of people who go by, if I'm gazing off and then I move, they are startled," said Baker.  "And the young girls in particular they're kind of bouncing along the sidewalk and suddenly they see me move and they scream and they laugh. Folks on the street laugh and they smile."

She realized the concept worked for all kinds of reasons so she brought it back for July and August and now has no shortage of volunteers. 

The volunteer models are outfitted head to toe in the latest fashion and jewelry trends

"This gets a lot of attention. People enjoy looking at the models. They laugh. They're surprised.  It gives them something to do when they're stopped at the light," said Baker. 

It attracts the curious who see the fun and go inside to find out what it's all about.

And that's good for business. 

"I had a customer who said 'oh my god I haven't seen that since big department stores in the '40s.'"

The living mannequins will continue to be in the store window every Friday throughout the summer.

Zu Zu Fashion Boutique is located at 25 Dunlop Street East. 


Sue Sgambati

About the Author: Sue Sgambati

Sue has had a 30-year career in journalism working for print, radio and TV. She is a proud member of the Barrie community.
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