The Cashu Nova Story, Part III–Bundle pants and the psychology of success.

Posted on July 26, 2008


Hollywood. The saga of the Cashū Nova Fashion House is an unusual one, of course. Yet hardly anything is more unusual in this story than the fact that the world of fashion–as represented by Cashū Nova–has somehow intersected with the study of socio-dynamics, a rarefied 21st Century academic discipline specialized in by University of Southern California Professor Annette Seaghun.

“I became interested in Cashū Nova after they released their ‘bundle pants’ for women,” said Professor Seaghun in an interview at her office at the USC Santa Barbara campus where she teaches and conducts her academic research. “They were making certain claims, and I wanted to know whether those claims were true.”

Of course, as usual, we are starting the story in the middle.

After the release and stunning success of ‘bundle trunks’ as detailed in the last instalment of this series, the infant Hollywood fashion house was looking for a second act. “Anyone could release their own line of swimming trunks with a prosthetic insert, we knew that from the start,” said Axel Gladden, Cashū Nova president, interviewed at his fashionable, ‘tastefully decadent’, ocean-front home. “We were planning to expand the concept right from the beginning.”

But in this case it was his partner, wife and fellow executive of Cashū Nova, Emmaline Gladden who came up with the next successful idea.

“Well, it wasn’t entirely me,” laughs Mrs. Gladden modestly.

Emmaline Gladden, Cashū Nova business manager, who also serves as the fashion house’s chief of design, had made up a number of mock-ups of a planned ‘bundle pants’ line for men, including a selection which she hoped would appeal to the ongoing metrosexual trend by utilizing high fashion styles and fabrics in conjunction with the ‘bundle pants’ idea. She made several prototypes with this latter concept in mind which happened to be seen by a businesswoman friend of Mrs. Gladden and mistaken for suit pants for women.

“That was my friend Simmy,” said Emmaline. “Simone. You know, she was always saying to me that she could never get ahead because no one would take her seriously in business. ‘It’s my inseam. It doesn’t have the right bulge.’ I swear that’s what she said. And then she was in my workshop and she saw an example of my metrosexual line of ‘bundle pants’ and she just assumed I was making them for women. ‘I’ve got to have a pair,’ she said to me, and I didn’t dare tell her than I hadn’t actually thought of marketing the style to women.”

“I hadn’t either,” said Axel, shaking his head.

“But she not only took a pair—I had to add prosthetic padding, that’s all, to adapt them for women” said Emmaline, “but she came back a week later and said that her sales had been up all week and she might be in line for a promotion. She ordered a half dozen new pairs on the spot. Honestly, that’s how our new line was started.”

“It was word of mouth all the way,” said Axel. “Simone was so enthusiastic that she was our best salesperson. Sales started slow, but they rapidly got better. Other customers were enthusiastic too.”

“Do you know that Cashū Nova gets fan mail?” asked Emmaline. “Almost right away we started to get it. Women writing in and saying that the Cashū Nova line of ‘bundle pants’ for women had given them a boost in their career, had given them a promotion, had made them vice president or president. We didn’t know what to make of it. I mean, could it be true? It’s so silly.”

“But we knew enough to use it in our advertising,” said Axel Gladden, with a definite twinkle in his eye.

“That’s how I heard of it,” said Professor Annette Seaghun, “and there were popular culture rumours as well. The implications were intriguing.”

Professor Seaghun already knew that unconscious clues had a powerful effect on human behaviour. “The dilated pupil of the eye, in a dating situation for instance, can indicate interest in regard to the other party. The other party will respond to this indication even if they are not consciously aware of the pupil dilation. It was possible that ‘bundle pants’ could represent a similar effect. We live in a highly male-oriented society which it is difficult for women to break into. Was it possible that by simply wearing ‘bundle pants’—simulating an archetypical aspect of maleness—that women could psychologically and subliminally bypass this pro-male bias? I decided to do a study to answer that question.”

And the answer, surprisingly enough, seemed to be ‘yes’. Simply by wearing ‘bundle pants’, women’s authoritativeness and credibility appeared to increase in the minds of Dr. Seaghun’s test subjects. “A woman wearing bundle pants was regarded with more respect than a woman wearing a standard business suit, by both male and female subjects,” said the doctor. “That was what the test results clearly indicated.”

“When we read the study, we were blown away,” said Emmaline Gladden.

“But we saw immediately the marketing potential,” said Axel.

The study was indeed a breakthrough for the fledgling Hollywood fashion house. They used it to crash the surprisingly lucrative law enforcement market.

“Police forces all over the country started to order ‘bundle pants’ designs for their officers,” said Emmaline. “It just took off.”

“We worked up a whole corrections industry line which underwrote our entire operation for a while,” said Axel. “The women’s officer line was basically only different from the men’s because of the addition of prosthetic inserts for the women.”

“Well, that’s not entirely true, either,” said Emmaline.

“Most of the forces involved said they only needed prosthetic padding for their women officers,” said Axel, looking a little bemused, “because…I guess I don’t have to explain the because.”

“But we’re flying up to Vancouver next week to finalize an order from a major Canadian police force,” continued Emmaline. “And they want the prosthetic inserts for both their male and female officers.”

“We presume it’s because of the cold winters,” said Axel, shaking his head.  “It gets cold up there, doesn’t it?”

Times are not only interesting at the superhot Cashū Nova Fashion House, they are also startlingly prosperous. And according to that company’s executive officers, they have not yet finished with their ongoing shakeup of Hollywood and world fashion.

But more of that in the next instalment.

Posted in: tall tales