clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Are Mannequins Being Replaced by... Plants?

New, 1 comment

The shop window of the Fifth Avenue Banana Republic in Manhattan has been looking more alive lately.

Photo: Hiroshi Watanabe/Getty Images

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

It’s pretty much old news that stores are struggling. Foot traffic is dwindling, losing an uphill battle to the convenience of online shopping, and storefronts are shutting their doors by the hundreds. Brands have tried everything from deep discounts to experiential retail to offering branded Airbnbs. But there’s one thing left to try, apparently, to pander to the taste of every millennial ever: plants!

Earlier this morning, the Fifth Avenue storefront of Banana Republic’s Rockefeller Center location appeared to be piloting this method. Its windows were completely decked out with plants — lots of ’em. Contrary to typical storefronts that feature a bunch of mannequins with current looks, Banana’s windows only featured a couple of actual outfits.

Photo: Chavie Lieber
Photo: Chavie Lieber

The window dressing might be a pun on Banana’s tagline for its sale (“fresh cuts”). Or maybe the company has picked up on the trend of people turning to the #jungalow vibe.

According to the New York Times, local nurseries are seeing businesses double each year, and some are enjoying a 6,500 percent increase in clientele. The rise of the green thumb has been chalked up to millennials’ lack of income; apparently, we can’t afford to buy homes, and so we decorate rentals with plants instead of investing in renovations. We also allegedly can’t afford to have kids, so we treat our plants like spawn instead.

Applying this trend to dying retail by replacing mannequins with plants? That might just catch the attention of customers who used to shop at Banana Republic a decade ago but would now rather spend their money on succulents than preppy fashion. Even if some are speculating about the death of Banana Republic, there’s nothing that looks more alive than a window full of plants.

We’ve reached out to Banana Republic for comment and will update if it responds.