How to Navigate the Fashion PR Industry (and not get eaten alive)

How to Navigate the Fashion PR Industry

(and not get eaten alive)

Photo Courtesy of Fashion United

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As The Devil Wears Prada shamelessly portrays, the fashion industry can be full of tough personalities. Add in the tenacity and resolve of a publicist, and you have a recipe for a group of people that won’t take no for an answer, have fabulous taste in shoes and understand if they don’t work hard enough, someone is waiting in line to replace them. Welcome to Fashion PR.

Intern, intern, intern

The importance of internships (note the plural) is three fold. First off, it gives you an idea if this is even an arena you want to compete in. Pull aside the veil of glitz and glam, and there is a ton of hard work that goes on behind the scenes. An internship will allow you the opportunity to see if Fashion PR is a good fit for you. Next, an ever-evolving industry has resulted in multiple lanes to explore. Try to gain experience both in-house and with an agency, as well as across different divisions, if possible. Do you want to direct your efforts towards digital influencer partnerships, produce innovative media events or work with stylists for the red carpet? You won’t know until you try. Finally, internships give you an edge – the more you can put on your resume, the better. “A million girls would kill for this job” isn’t just a DWP quote, it’s completely true – and should be the only motivation you need.

Photo Courtesy of Onstage
Don’t burn bridges – or ladders you’ll need to climb later

A solid network is of utmost importance in this industry. There are a few ways to build one: Don’t make fast enemies, treat people like people, help out when you can, be nice to everyone and go out of your way to do a phenomenal job. Not only will that assistant be Fashion Director at Vogue one day, but she’ll be more likely to answer your email if she thinks highly of you. Additionally, connections and relationships are primarily what your worth is weighed upon, and the more people you can count as fans, the more opportunities will come your way.

Don’t let anyone ruffle your LBD

The rules of how to play nicely in Fashion PR are sometimes a soft suggestion, and not everyone colors inside the lines. Whether it’s a client, brand or co worker, the industry is blessed with a bevy of rich (and sometimes difficult) personalities. Don’t let anything or anyone bring you down! Put on your best, and dare I say always black, power publicist outfit, and do your job. Accept that any challenging moment is a tool to learn from, and move on. Appreciate and encourage those that build you up, teach you how to succeed and high five you after a job well done!

The word “no” doesn’t exist

Be aggressive! But not too aggressive. Find a nice balance between never taking “no” for an answer, and thinking outside the box to find alternative paths to success.  When it comes to pitching, hearing it’s a “pass” is less than ideal (and sometimes detrimental), so be prepared to be persistent without earning a restraining order.

Your best bet is to get creative and find a way to get what you want by providing other people with what they want. Think of the other person, not just yourself, and you will be victorious more often than not.

You are your own best publicist

It can take some time to gain the confidence you need to get ahead in this business, but once you do, utilize it. Let your work speak for itself (hopefully, it’s consistently A+), but also, stand up for yourself and the recognition you deserve. No one is going to give you anything; you have to fight for it. More importantly, you have to earn it. Ask how you can improve, set goals for yourself, go above and beyond, and constantly prove that you are willing to work harder than everyone else to rise in the ranks.

Enjoy the ride

While I admit this job can be wildly chaotic, it can also be a hell of a lot of fun! The perks are endless: incredible fashion moments, exciting parties, inspiring designers and industry leaders, and the thrill of being at the forefront of it all. Remember that these exhilarating moments are the reason you got into Fashion PR in the first place! Enjoy the wins that make you proud, appreciate the challenges that make you strong, take a second to do a happy dance in those Jimmy Choos, and congratulate yourself for kicking ass! Then get back to work.

Tera Leuthauser

Tera works in a leadership capacity across all Bollare divisions and offices. Tera heads up a priority roster of clients, from Vans and Timberland to LeSportsac, to top tier eyewear brands such as Vera Wang and alice + olivia.

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