Mel Hargraves, owner of Sum1s in Lismore, with her unusual window display that was named runner-up in the Lismore Lantern Parade Enchanted Window Competition.
Mel Hargraves, owner of Sum1s in Lismore, with her unusual window display that was named runner-up in the Lismore Lantern Parade Enchanted Window Competition. Jacklyn Wagner

Talk of death all the fashion

A WINDOW display at the dead centre of Lismore has been the hot topic of conversation recently.

Recycled clothing and fashion store Sum1s, in Carrington Street, chose a ‘taboo topic’ for their window display as part of the Lismore Lantern Parade Enchanted Window Competition.

The display features a female mannequin in a cardboard coffin, dressed in underwear designed by young local fashion designer, Cassandra Taylor.

Store owner Mel Hargraves said she put a lot of thought into the display before she decided to go with it.

“I think it is a taboo topic and in our culture –we don’t talk about death,” she said.

“I am trying to present it in a positive light. I know it is a touchy subject and I didn’t do it without thinking about it.

“If we look at other cultures, they are more open about death.

“I think if we are presented with images that are taboo we become more comfortable with them. It was a risk, but I have done it with sensitivity.”

The window display was runner-up in the Enchanted Window Competition, which Ms Hargraves believes shows the judges were open-minded.

The inspiration for the display came from the shop being close to the dead centre of town, geographically.

Sum1s is a constant supporter of local artists, profiling a new artist and their work, plus a new fashion designer and their designs, in the store each month.

Feedback on the unusual window display has been constant since it was installed two weeks ago.

“I chose a topic that has, well, got a reaction. But I think it is healing to some people,” Ms Hargraves said.

“The fact the mannequin is in underwear was the risky part, but this is a fashion store and I wanted to dress the mannequin in the most creative pieces here.

“Some comments have been so amazing, with people talking about the cardboard coffin and talking about how they would like to be buried.

“The subject of death is so universal. It touches all of us in one way or another.”

But it has not all been positive feedback for the shop owner.

Ms Hargraves has had people screaming profanities and calling her disrespectful for using the window display.

“I had no intention to offend people,” she said.



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