Garments displayed on mannequins sell 43% faster, say retailers

Local authorities in Mumbai may have banned skimpily clad mannequins on the bizarre ground that they may trigger sexual abuse on women, but Indian retailers are lapping up these life-size toys for their uncanny ability to sell fashion. Retailers say garments displayed on mannequins sell much faster than others; hence they want to display all their styles on perfectly shaped, tall and modern lay figures.

"Garments displayed on mannequins sell 43% faster," says Anuraag Singhal, visual merchandiser at Allen Solly, a Madura Fashion & Lifestyle brand." Earlier brands used to change the look once in a month, but now it's being done every three days and even daily by some retailers to ensure that windows look fresh," he says.

Sanjeev Mohanty, managing director at Benetton India, says the number of mannequins the fashion brand has in a store has doubled in about five years. "They play a very crucial role in sales," he says. A flagship Benetton store houses up to 40 mannequins, while smaller stores have around 10.

Mannequin sellers say demand grows around 30% every year.

Shop owners across the country now demand tall, modern mannequins. They call it Zara mannequin because one dummy the Spanish fast fashion brand imported found its way into the domestic market and copies of it are now being made in bulk and sold in hundreds.

"Zara has very stylish and eye-catching mannequins," a mannequin maker said on condition of anonymity. "The copies have huge demand, especially coming from Indian brands and fashion designers, boutique owners," the person added. The fast fashion brand that has proved a roaring success in India seems to be setting the benchmark even for dummies.

That means mannequins in Indian stores are no longer short, stout and voluptuous; they are rather tall, chic and in perfect shape. "With the craze for size-zero figure growing among Indian women, even a mannequin is not voluptuous anymore," says PradeepHirani, chairman at Kimaya, a nationwide multi-brand ethnic fashion retail chain. It is extremely critical they possess the desired body, grace and attitude, he adds.