Fashion Industry

Cast Yourself

Fashion is already a competitive industry, so you can imagine how intense breaking into public relations can be. Believe it or not, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do until last year. Heck! I didn’t even know what PR was, let alone where to even start.

I’ve always had a knack for wanting to connect people or being in the midst of networking. I found that PR was broad enough in any industry. Yet, I do regret not having more strategy when it came to my post-graduation plans. Things were still up in the air…all over the place! Still is! Trust, I have a plan though which I may share in a more personal post.

For now, here are a few things I would recommend you do as early as sophomore year:

Intern

It may not be the best experience for some, but it is fun and amazingly interesting to see how much you grow within a few months. You DO NOT learn everything sitting in a classroom. You learn how to deal with people, attitudes and all of the essentials to this so called fast-paced industry. More importantly, you learn more about yourself.

Even if you don’t specifically intern in the fashion industry, you are still learning basic skills that you can apply to any job.

Create a Portfolio

As I said, you don’t learn everything in a classroom. In the beginning, it can be hard and nerve-wracking to learn how to pitch to media, or to businesses for sponsorships. Take those PR tasks and assignments serious; they’re exactly what will help you transition into entry-level positions.

Writing skills will be the most impressive to potential employers.

Network! Network! Network!

I really cannot stress this enough. You never know who you’ll meet, better yet…where your next job will come from. There are all types of job fairs, networking events and socials held during the semester. What about ‘networking’ cards? An interesting twist to business cards; utilize these cards to reach out to people you admire. Invite them to lunch or a Starbucks coffee break.

As a general rule of thumb, NEVER stop meeting people.


Wondering when, where or how to start? Your college community! Are you a part of any school clubs or volunteer for any non-profit organizations? How’s your social life? Try speaking with local bar owners or managers that host weekly events. These small-scale projects really help you learn the ins and outs of the PR world.

PR 101: That Guy

In Fashion PR, well public relations in general, you study, learn and prepare for the industry and later become your own boss (if entrepreneurship is your thing). You want to be the person that everyone knows, admires and make connections possible.

Simply put, “you want to be that guy,” stated by Peter Shankman, founder of Help A Reporter Out (HARO), in his book “Customer Service: New Rules for a Social Media World.” I don’t necessarily know if I’ll ever be “that girl,” but I do know that I’m a reliable source for connecting one person to another.

Being the go-to person, the one that sees, hears and knows all puts you in a position of industry power.

“Why? Because “that guy”… is valuable to everyone” (Shankman, 2010).

How do we become valuable? There is no secret, just listen and interact with people; basic customer service. In Fashion PR, our purpose is to help, build and construct a brand’s image so being the initial contact from every marketing angle is important, including jewelry, beauty and lifestyle. You want to be “that guy” for your brand because more connections = increase in profits.

Everything is connected one way or another.

As a college student, I feel that this will be the highlight of our careers to know if we’re fit for PR. From the way we interact with people daily to our responses given on social media, to the ‘thank you’ notes that aren’t sent after interviews, we are noticed by our customer service.

People want to know if we’re listening, being active and giving them what they want. It’s going to get more intense from here, so it’s up to us to decide whether or not we will be “that guy.”

Photo Credit: Blog.Trashness

Too Many Designers?

Olivier Theyskens believes the fashion market has become entirely saturated, and I agree. There are so many new designers that it’s becoming harder to keep up with emerging brands. Every year there are more than a handful of designers being added to almost every major show.

In his interview with Dezeen Magazine he said, “These days, there is an over offering of new brands…in every season and every fashion week, you have 10 or 12 new names. I think it’s scary.”

Reading further into the article, he stated that students interested in fashion should pursue other areas of the industry.

“Students don’t [realize] that there are other aspects of the industry where they could find a very strong place. Some of the people doing internships for me, they became super specialist in generating amazing prints or opening a business for trims and providing to all the houses in Paris. But a lot of kids that like fashion could become amazing merchandisers, they could become amazing sales people, they could become PRs or they could work more in ateliers. They don’t necessarily need to be the designer. It just depends on each person, and if they have something to express.”

Photo Source: Dezeen