On Saturday, the city will play host to a unique fashion show. Eschewing svelte models in favour of ‘ordinary’ people, Co-optex has decided that farmers, weavers, and their wives will showcase their latest line of outfits.
Alongside them on the ramp will be folk artists, physically challenged residents, and members of the transgender community.
The aim? To survive in a cut-throat market and to bring Co-optex’s products closer to those who matter, but are generally sidelined by mainstream showrooms.
The three-hour programme is the brainchild of Co-optex’s new managing director U. Sagayam, who has set a high target for the organisation.
For it to survive in the market without the advantages of an advertisement blitzkrieg, he said, it was necessary to challenge cherished facts.
And so, in a daring experiment, regular residents, who know next to nothing about walking the ramp, will display Co-optex’s clothing line.
Mr. Sagayam said he hoped this, along with other sales campaigns, would help make Co-optex a popular brand among a sizeable section of the population before the year is out.
The fashion show, to be held at Co-optex’s Thillayadi Valliammmai complex, will also include a performance by visually impaired people.
The National Institute of Fashion Technology will provide technical support. “But the participants will wear our garments. Weavers, farmers, transgender community members and physically challenged persons survive on the margins of society and are rarely recognised for their work. Co-optex will honour their contributions,” Mr. Sagayam said.
The show will also be organised in Madurai, Coimbatore and Tiruchi.
“During a visit to Arupukkottai soon after taking over here, I was impressed by the hospitality of the weavers,” he said, adding that this inspired him to go ahead and experiment.
Last year, for the first time in its 78-year history, Co-optex managed to earn profits, by netting Rs. 244.61 crore through retail sales.
The organisation has set a target of Rs. 400 crore for the current financial year. “The competition is high now,” Mr. Sagayam admitted.
Several novel initiatives that were introduced last year, such as the ‘Mapillai’ set (clothes for bridegrooms), ‘silk for all’ and ‘old for new’ saris, were a huge hit with customers, Mr. Sagayam added.