Cisco is a fashion retailer now, with a spring collection to prove it

Promises quarterly lookbooks of branded tat, powered by branded kit

Cisco has become a fashion retailer.

Yes, we're talking about that Cisco – the networking giant. And no, this is neither a new line of business nor a radical move away from its mission to sell more networking kit.

As explained last week by product marketing and analytics specialist Anjana Iyer, Cisco plans to offer quarterly collections and "curated style guides by our very own Cisco Store staff" who will explain "what's trending every season."

On the basis of Cisco's "lookbooks" for the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and the Asia-Pacific, Japan, and China, t-shirts, hoodies, gilets, and polo shirts are trending everywhere. And also in every season, given the Americas and Asia-Pacific span northern and southern hemispheres – meaning those regions will experience both spring and autumn in coming weeks.

The Register is impressed that some of the items on sale cover the lower half of the body – for years your correspondent has hoped to come away from a big trade show with a head-to-toe branded outfit, but vendors were strangely reticent to go down there.

But the fare on offer is mostly the kind of branded tat handed out as corporate gifts, or sold in company stores to employees who might wear branded gear to work – rather than to do dirty work in the garden, as is the fate usually reserved for branded clothing given to non-staffers.

Cisco has tried to ensure that not all the fashion items on offer feature its logo. Some items, like this rugby jumper, feature a large "C" logo, but aren't obviously branded. Others, like this hoodie, riff on Cisco's logos in ways that might pass as unbranded.

The lookbooks are also not obviously a great advertisement for Cisco's e-commerce prowess. The Register found the sites slow, prices on the high side, and the absence of free shipping an annoyance.

Profiting from fashion, however, appears not to be Switchzilla's aim. Rather, it's doing this to show off its Cisco Store Tech Lab – a facility in which it shows off its tech for retailers.

Each quarterly lookbook will therefore appear alongside info about the kit Cisco can provide to a retailer.

The Register expects that Cisco's curators will therefore decree that edge networks and security never stop trending – no matter the season. Just like those hoodies and t-shirts. ®

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