Mannequins are startling shoppers by suddenly smiling at them. These mannequins can do that because they are actually live women.
Last week, two slim white women wearing the latest yoga line by Reebok got up from their window positions and walked out on Commercial Street for a cup of tea.
It had been a long day. The shocked expressions from passersby didn't seem to bother them as they sipped tea from plastic cups. They work eight-hour shifts.
This has become a routine for Mahsa and Catherina, citizens of the Czech Republic, who have also posed as mannequins for other brands like Calvin Klein.
Brands are hiring live white women to decorate their display windows. "I'm a model, and this is a different kind of a job for me, and I get paid for it," Mahsa told City Express.
While Calvin Klein refused to comment on this new trend, Somdeb Basu, brand director, Reebok, revealed that walk-ins had gone up by 35-50 per cent over the weekend, thanks to the 'live mannequins'.
"Yes, it has definitely helped sales, especially in the malls. We have conducted this (campaign) in four or five cities," he added.
On why this new strategy was adopted, he said,"We are repositioning ourselves as a fitness brand, so this is a way to communicate something new. The new categories we have are yoga, aerobics and soon cycling as well. If you see somebody doing yoga behind a window, you'll definitely be intrigued," he added.
The mannequins sit still most of the time, but occasionally break into asanas. They are hired from modelling agencies, after which they are groomed by fitness trainers.
The main criterion for hiring live mannequins is fitness. "It wasn't a strategic decision to use foreign models," he said.