For a company whose prime business focus is telephony not many would make a ready association with fashion.
Well, picture a fashion runway with models bedecked in the corporate colours of Cable & Wireless.
And no, the models were not displaying text message apparel or biosensor buttons.
The occasion was the first ever fashion event hosted by a young designer of St. Kitts & Nevis – Patrice Henry of Raymonde Signature Designs who sought to associate the event with Cable & Wireless and in return designed and made a line of clothing for the sponsor.
Patrons may have viewed the arrangement as the usual corporate sponsorship in exchange for the accustomed publicity. But alas, the host and the hostess announced the Cable & Wireless line was being modeled in one of the segments and tongues literally wagged.
The first model wearing a netball type piece brought the initial wow to the expectant onlookers.
But out came a white hipster pant complemented by a peek-a-boo blue sequin piece and seconds later a lovely sports jacket suitable for the corporate cricket box.
A tunic-like two-piece, and then the icing on the cake a sparkling full-length dress with intricate crisscrossing in the back in C&W blue rounded out the segment. And oh did I mention that two of the models were Cable & Wireless staff who visibly enjoyed every moment of wearing their company’s line on a fashion runway instead of at a desk. And why wouldn’t they savour the moment, considering the hemline of some of the pieces may have raised more than a few eyebrows in an office setting.
Quite unlike the recent technology cyber fashion show at a SIGGRAPH convention devoted exclusively to computer graphics and interactive technologies, this was not a segment for the cyberpunk-geek crowd. In fact the pieces are wearable, being expertly crafted from cotton and linen as well as vintage silk.
So popular were the Cable & Wireless line that numerous inquiries were made of the items at the after show sale.
Might this be the beginning of a new revenue stream for Cable & Wireless?
The question was posed to its Chief Executive, Patricia Walters, who said that primarily what the company wanted to do was to extend its creative appeal to its customers and especially the generation X segment.
“Our customer base is made up of a significant number of young people many of whom are naturally attracted to a show of this nature,” Walters said. “These are the customers who love fashion not just from textile but also in the types of phones that they buy to define them. It was therefore a natural match to develop a clothing line as a wow factor of this show.”
Not totally dismissing the future possibility of a full-fledged commercial corporate clothing line, the CE stopped short of saying a straight forward “yes”. “Brand exposure is so critical in this competitive era, and certainly if our customers demand more of the brand through a clothing line why not. One has got to think outside the box in this era. For now, we would put this down to being experimental, but certainly further opportunities may arise to fully explore the option.”