VMSD - January 2012 - (Page 35)

MANNEQUINS + FORMS designer profile KEN ALBRIGHT Seven Continents’ president is also a designer, and he’s on a mission to make retailers see the green in mannequins and forms. 1 Ken Albright loves it when clients come to him with a challenge. And in the mid-1980s, his customers were asking his decoratives company to begin offering forms. So Albright began working with Romano Bonaveri at Italian-based Bonaveri, learning the process, how to design and the different materials used in making forms. “It was so fascinating to work with a manufacturer who was a sculptor,” he says. As Seven Continents’ forms business took off, it eventually added mannequins and now both product lines account for more than half of the Toronto-based company’s business. “My goal was to make a form into a fashion statement,” he says. Along the way, Albright learned how to change fabrication pro2 cesses and materials to create products for a diverse client base, from Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie & Fitch to Bloomingdale’s and Shinsegae. His work has included the original Abby and Fitch to, more recently, a line of recyclable and non-breakable mannequins for Joe Fresh’s Canadian locations. One of the biggest considerations he must make when designing a line is how the clothes will fit the mannequin or form. In the early years, Albright says that Abercrombie requested a kid’s form in size 16. But when the retailer tried to dress it in its signature style of layers of clothing, the clothes wouldn’t fit. “So now I insist on getting the merchandise to do a dress-test,” he says. Albright also had to resculpt forms for Victoria’s Secret’s push-up line to accommodate the cup size additions. “It’s a combination of function and design,” he says. Albright turns to fashion, clothing and architecture for inspiration. Taking design cues from a curvy condo building in Mississauga, Ont., dubbed the “Marilyn Monroe Tower,” Albright fashioned a line of accessory forms. “There’s something visual in everything you see,” he says. The designer also feels a global responsibility to using sustainable materials. His regular trips abroad to research 1 This display area for Bloomingdale’s uses an Anchor form created new designs and materials have led to such ideas as using by Seven Continents. Ken Albright worked with the retailer to change bamboo. “I think there’s a social responsibility in everything the original sculpted piece to a lighter-weight combination of wood we do,” says Albright. —Anne DiNardo and MDF. 2 These Luna forms for Shinsegae department store were inspired by sculpture. vmsd.com | JANUARY 2012 35 http://www.vmsd.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of VMSD - January 2012

VMSD - January 2012
Contents
From the Editor
VMSD Editorial Advisory Board
Props + Decoratives
Judith Von Hopf’s Melissa Hopf
Lighting
Mannequins + Forms
Seven Continents’ Ken Albright
Materials + Wallcoverings
Furniture
Fixtures
Chippenhook’s Steve Kidwell
Flooring
Centiva’s Leigh Wright
Signage + Graphics
Best of the Rest
Ad Index
Lasting Impression

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