Network: My Technology - A mobile makes me far more efficient
Fashion designer Amanda Wakeley on her Motorola StarTAC phone. Interview by Jennifer Rodger
Monday 28 December 1998
I have used mobile phones for quite a long time. I think back to my first mobile, eight years ago, which was like a brick, but heavier than one and with batteries that only lasted two hours. This one [the StarTAC] is relatively new; I got it about a year ago. Because I travel a lot, going to the West End for meetings, for instance. It means I can carry on working in the taxi or car. If you are sitting in traffic you might as well be making phone calls. My day doesn't stop now.
I must say this mobile is brilliant. The only time it doesn't work is when you use it in America, which is a law unto itself. American cellular phones are on completely different systems. But when I was somewhere remote, such as Zanzibar last year, it worked a treat. One thing I don't like about using mobile phones, particularly this one, is that I am not convinced it is at all healthy - what with the reports relating the signals to cancer. And you can't get one of those earpieces for the StarTAC, which would reduce the worry. Plus, I am not convinced Motorola has got the equipment right. There is a fragility about the design; it can break while you are trying to fold it down. This is my third one.
To be honest, the multitude of mobiles you can now get makes choosing one very confusing. Well, I find it so! In the end, I chose a StarTAC because it has a long battery life, is light and compact. The batteries are so tiny I don't mind carrying them. And I can just turn off my mobile when I don't feel like answering it.
It has an answer phone, so that's fine - it can take the messages. I am not someone who wastes a lot of time on the phone, although I do use it to keep in touch with my friends and family, but it is generally for calls of a business nature or to make arrangements quickly.
Most people I come in contact with in fashion have a mobile. I don't have a secretary and use voicemail instead - both in the office and at home. So this technology means I don't need a receptionist; everyone in my office has their own phone lines and voicemail. You think of an office with 20 people who are all likely to receive about 40 personal calls per day, which a receptionist would have to sort. I think it's fine that people can now go straight through to the person they want to speak to: it's much more efficient and the concept of someone answering phones just to put you through is outdated.
Efficiency is why new technology appeals to me. Everything is becoming a lot more convenient. I have heard people call it the trend towards cocooning. Doing things such as supermarket shopping on the Internet means we are more likely to stay inside. But I think the convenience of shopping on the PC will never take away the luxurious feeling you can get from touching items, from feeling clothes. However, on the other hand, if you know a brand like ours, you can assume the feel and quality will be there. Plus the whole idea behind Amanda Wakeley's collaboration with Principles has been to make designer clothes more accessible to a wider audience - perhaps for people who don't live in one of the major cities.
Other than this, I use e-mail a little bit, but it's still of a mystery to me. But I am coming round to it. As you can probably tell, I am not a natural tech-nerd - or whatever they call it - but I absolutely love the convenience of it. I just think it's a more competitive world, so we have to be more efficient in our work practices.
Amanda Wakeley designs for Principles are available online at http://www.principles.co.uk/amandawakeley
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