Frechen · The series "The Squid Game" is anything but funny: to get out of debt, people are ready for a murderous game for a winning prize. The costumes are eye-catching - and will probably be seen a lot at carnival despite the dark theme.
When carnivalists celebrate the Elften Elften and with it the start of the jecken Jahreszeit, the influence of streaming series on the choice of costumes will probably make itself felt this time too. The demand for costumes from the South Korean series "The Squid Game" is high, the managing director of the costume retailer Deiters, Björn Lindert, told dpa. In the series, participants in a deadly game wear dark green tracksuits with numbers on them, and there are also guards in red overalls with black masks. The head villain, in turn, is dressed in black.
It is not the first time that Netflix & Co. have had a visual impact on the jecke season. In 2018, for example, a conspicuous number of costumed people mingled with the revellers, wearing a red suit and a Dalí mask - just like the bank robbers in the Spanish series "House of Money".
After the 2020/21 session celebrations - i.e. carnival time - were cancelled due to Corona, events will be allowed again in the session starting at 11 a.m. on November 11. For Deiters, this ends a long lull in business: the branches had been closed since March 2020 - with a brief period of opening in late summer and early autumn 2020. It was not until October 1 that the market leader in the niche sector reopened 29 branches, for example in Frechen, Cologne and Düsseldorf. Two shops had to remain closed because they had been severely damaged in the July floods: in Eschweiler and in Leverkusen.
The branch business and the online shop are now doing well, according to the manager. It was noticeable that customers were very keen on Halloween and carnival and wanted to escape from the grey Corona everyday life.
During the Corona period, Deiters' business turnover plummeted by 90 percent compared to the time before the pandemic. Only the online shop was always available, but demand was weak there too due to a lack of celebration opportunities. And where do things go from here? "The customers' longings for cohesion, celebration, party, music and swaying are huge - and in this context also for costumes," says the manager who is optimistic for the coming months.
However, he says it is still unclear whether turnover can return to the pre-Corona level. "After the deep valley, we are going into the next few months with a good dose of humility." It borders on a miracle that Deiters has been able to survive such a long sales slump - it also shows how robust the company is and how good the business model is in principle.
Incidentally, there is one theme that is not to be found in Deiters' extensive stock of costumes: the pandemic. It would have been obvious, for example, to offer the coronavirus as a costume, says Lindert. "There would certainly have been sales potential, but that would have been in bad taste and just plain wrong." So they don't offer that, he says. Most people probably wouldn't have been thrilled to see such a macabre viral disguise anyway. "Corona has affected our lives enough, you don't want to see it as a costume at carnival celebrations as well.“
Deiters says it has 280 permanent employees, the vast majority of whom have been on reduced hours for a year and a half. Before Corona, about 400 seasonal employees were added, now there are 200. Besides carnival, dressing up occasions like Halloween or theme parties are important for the company, which also has shops far away from the carnival strongholds in the Rhineland - for example in Stuttgart, Berlin or Frankfurt. However, non-carnival business does not normally account for even a third of Deiters' annual turnover.
The company from Frechen is the market leader in the small costume sector. A competitor with branches is Karnevalswierts from Heerlen near Aachen. In addition, there are purely online suppliers who offer costumes from the series. But anyone who decides to go out and buy from Deiters might be disappointed for the time being: The various "Squid Game" costumes are only partly in stock, the rest is supposed to come soon, while pre-orders are possible. The reason for the patchy availability is delivery delays from Asia - like many other companies, bottlenecks in global freight traffic are causing problems for the Rhineland costume retailer.
Original text: dpa
Translation: Mareike Graepel