Article Courtesy of the Athleta Chi Blog
Athleta is about real athletes inspiring active women in a variety of venues. On the Athleta Chi blog, our featured athletes share their expert advice and insight, and our catalogs are filled with pages of performance gear put to the test by women athletes against stunning backdrops around the world.
When we set off on the journey to bring Athleta to “brick-and-mortar” in our flagship San Francisco store, we knew we couldn’t have our real-life athletes there to inspire customers and demonstrate the performance and beauty that’s core to everything we create. So, we started an exhaustive search for athletic mannequins and (no surprise) couldn’t find any that were truly feminine AND athletic — both in the figure and the pose. That’s when we knew we had to venture off the beaten path to create uniquely Athleta mannequins.
Affectionately called “Daniquins,” the mannequins are inspired and modeled after our very own Danielle Halverson. Over the years, Dani has traveled to distant lands with our team of athlete models and creative gurus, becoming an important part of the Athleta community. She’s a strong, beautiful person inside and out, and to give you a sense of who she is as an athlete, here are just a few of her accomplishments…
Dani came to Athleta through Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited, an agency that helped land her on the cover and in the pages of notable publications like Runner’s World, Shape, and Women’s Health. As her agent, Karen Osborn, attests, “Danielle epitomizes the beautiful athlete that the Athleta brand represents, so we were thrilled to facilitate that relationship, along with our other great models they use!” We couldn’t agree more.
A few months ago, Dani traveled with members of Team Athleta to Broomfield, CO, where Fusion Specialties is based. There, overseen by Creative Director Stacie White, Dani was digitally scanned in various action sequences and static poses that included running and Trikonasana (aka triangle pose). A fiberglass prototype, having the basic dimensions but lacking the finer details, was created from these scans as a template for the seven on-site sculptors who would artfully hand-etch Dani from a pile of clay, down to her tiny delineations of sinew and muscle. The Fusion Specialties team worked tirelessly over months to fine-tune this special project for Athleta.
That dedication to their craft is apparent in attention to details that may surprise the layman. Mannequins suffer from what Stacie calls “losing a moment in time,” a quality that often distinguishes great photography from the rest. Similar to one of our photo shoots, computer images were taken of Dani in rapid-fire succession before finding one with the right spark. Human details, too, can be unexpectedly exaggerated — in mannequin form Dani’s legs appeared bigger and more venous. These incongruities were “mannequized” with guidance from Team Athleta. The final product is breathtaking, to say the least.
Just walking through the San Francisco store, it’s apparent these statuesque mannequins are more effigy than mannequin, their precision-carved bodies an homage to Dani’s athletic physique. The untrained eye may overlook the differences between our Daniquins and other, run-of-the-mill mannequins, but we know you’ll appreciate the attention to detail, and hope you enjoyed learning more about the woman who breathed life into our “Daniquins.”