We've all heard of catwalk politics, designer egos clashing with financial backers and of fashion houses swooning major publishers to get editorial. The fashion press can be as political as any Westminster saga and is not adverse to it's own dramas. Fashion has not gotten so political, however, that it felt inspired to resort to signing a former president to be the new face of a particular brand...Until now, that is!

A small clothing manufacturer in eastern China says it hopes to sign former president Bill Clinton to represent its brand, citing his "worldwide charisma." "Our suits match Clinton's character and personality," Wang Zhen, an official at Fapai Xifu Co., said Thursday in a telephone interview. The company, whose name translates as "French-style suit company," bills itself as China's 17th-largest clothing maker and is located in the low-cost manufacturing hub of Wenzhou, south of Shanghai. It has offered Clinton $2 million to be its spokesmodel and sent several e-mails to the White House -- where Clinton no longer lives -- to make its case. The company hopes to enlist Clinton as soon as next year. "Whether Clinton has enough attractiveness is difficult to say right now, so we are still negotiating," said company president Peng Xing, quoted by the Beijing Morning Post.

Most of Fapai Xifu Co.'s suits are sold in China, Wang said. "In 2000 we were trying to export clothes and wanted to choose a figure with worldwide charisma," to represent the firm, he added. The company sells $157 million in suits per year, each priced between $360 and $960.


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