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18 June, 2011

dreams of PR machines

Ever since Whitney Port and Lauren Conrad landed dream jobs with PR giant Kelly Cutrone of People’s Revolution, young fashionista’s everywhere have been asking, what exactly is fashion PR? Despite its sudden rise in the public eye, it seems to be one aspect of the billion pound fashion industry that people know very little about, so what do they actually do?
            Public Relations inevitably boils down to reputation management; making sure that clients look good by promoting the brand as much as possible. Fashion publicists will specifically help designers and retail brands get the publicity they need via advertising, marketing, fashion shows and relationships with fashion editors. The ability to build relationships is vital in order to guarantee that people will feature designers’ products in a complimentary light whether it is in a magazine or on the body of a celebrity on the red carpet.
            There are two different types of fashion PR, the In House publicist or the PR agency. In House PR is based, shockingly, in a fashion house. Publicists will be responsible for communications for one brand and as opposed to simply dealing with press and placements there is also a lot of focus on brand development. Agency PR will deal with multiple brands and agencies such as Modus and Purple represent a variety of high profile brands such as Lanvin, TIGI, Calvin Klein and Twenty8Twelve, this means more events will need to be planned and attended and more demands need to be managed. However both In House and agencies will have to deal with similar things on a day to day basis. Promotional events need to be organised, including seating charts and guest lists, gifts need to be sent out to celebrities and their PR teams in the hope that they will be used at high profile events and press packs and press releases need to be distributed to notify the industry of any changes within fashion houses or fashion shows.
I was lucky enough to spend a month interning at Topshop HQ in London in the Public Relations department and I can safely say those were some of the best days of my life. The highs included sending clothes that I had picked out to celebrities including Tali Lennox and Alexa Chung and then seeing them wearing them in paparazzi shots in magazines and blogs. And the lows? Honestly, there were none. I had to do many a remedial job (I had to walk to Covent Garden to drop off someone’s phone that they had left behind in the office) but I relished every second of, what can only be described as, the most valuable learning experience I am yet to have.
            The exciting opportunities synonymous with the fast paced life of PR are made only more glamorous when you add fashion to the equation but, be warned, PR is not for the faint hearted. The long hours, especially during fashion week, are draining and being responsible for so many small details can be overwhelming but the adrenaline rush after being under high pressure to perform can be exhilarating and it is for this reason that many girls, including myself, are now dreaming of a life in Kelly Cutrone’s New York Office.

                                         The People's Revolution Team
my desk at Topshop

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