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Tuesday, Dec 10, 2002

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Solly dear, this time it's really for the biggies

Sravanthi Challapalli

Sizing it up


HERE'S one brand that's trying to make the most of obesity and even celebrating it, without nasty cracks and ominous warnings of its dire consequences. Allen Solly, the workwear brand from Madura Garments, is all set to launch `The Big Collection' for larger people (including the taller ones) this month. The campaign, to be launched in national newspapers and glossies, will break on December 22 and run till the end of January.

Speaking to Business Line, Mr Shailesh Chaturvedi, Brand Director, Allen Solly, said, "It is not difficult to see that obesity is on the rise due to new lifestyles. There has been growing demand for large-size products. Allen Solly has reacted with alacrity and is the first serious brand entering this category at the national level."

However, large people have always found it difficult to get clothes for themselves. So why is it only now that there's an offering of this sort? Mr Chaturvedi says that it has to do with the industry maturing. "As any industry comes of age, nimble-footed market players start fine-tuning their offerings and look at new niches to capture. We are responding to an idea whose time has come."

He says that Allen Solly is the first brand in India capitalising on the `big' trend. "Many local players are resorting to tokenism in range. For the first time, the big size consumer in India will experience a wide range in big size products and they will see a quality never seen before," claims Mr Chaturvedi.

The Big Collection offers an exclusive collection of shirts up to size 50 (with sizes available in 46, 48 and 50) and trousers too up to the same waist size, including sizes 40, 42, 44, 48 and 50.

Shirts from the brand's best-selling collections including Hawaiian Conference, Extra Lights, Uncrushables and the latest, Las Vegas, will find a place in this line. The brand is introducing flat front trousers too in big sizes.

The concept was test-marketed in the northern markets in June and July of this year. All elements of the marketing mix, including the product range, fits, pricing, advertising and retailing, were tested.

This niche category is expected to bring in about five per cent of the brand's business.

As for pricing, shirts range between Rs 999 and Rs 1,299 while trousers range between Rs 999 and Rs 1,499.

Though the Big products do consume more fabric, pricing will be similar to regular pricing in the brand, says Mr Chaturvedi.

He said that in designing clothes for the `gracious few' whose size hampers their selection of clothes, Allen Solly was not only satisfying a latent demand but also reinforcing the brand's uniqueness. "The Big Collection is an attempt to feel and to be different," he adds.

Interestingly, the campaign for this line features Madura Garments' Chief Design Consultant, Mr. Stephen King (a `Big' consumer himself) as one of the models.

He is portrayed showing the greatest delight in finally finding a shirt that seems to be the perfect fit.

This collection is for those `who are larger than life', says the tagline. Given that they are made to feel `misfits' of sorts (pun unintended), this must bring the target consumers some cheer!

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