What is fashion PR?
Fashion PR is the promotion of clothing and accessory labels and brands through earned media channels — including broadcast, print, and online media outlets. Fashion PR targets editors, producers, reporters, and writers at influential mass media outlets like Vogue and Elle, but an increasing amount of fashion PR work focuses on bloggers, YouTube vloggers, and social media stars.
How Fashion PR Works
Celebrities play a key role
As trend-setters, celebrities play a larger-than-life role in Fashion PR compared to other industry sectors. While A-list celebrities get plenty of attention, emerging brands may develop a relationship with up-and-coming celebrities before they reach they big time.
High-profile events are important
Especially for luxury or high-end items, Fashion PR still revolves around high-profile events including the Oscars, New York Fashion Week, the Cannes Film Festival and other occasions where fashion takes center-stage. But in major metropolitan areas across the world,
Influencers wield their influence
Whether you're sending influencers a product in exchange for a review (organic outreach) or paying them to write about your product (pay to play), influencers with devoted followings are key to spreading the word about your label.
Fashion PR Best Practices
Create a sense of exclusivity
With the rise of e-commerce, thousands of brands now have the opportunity to sell clothing online. Major fashion weeks are being scaled back more and more as e-commerce dominates, giving your brand even less of a chance to get its name out there. Therefore, you have to work hard to use language that makes it sound like the reporter you're pitching is gaining access to an exclusive line millions of Americans are dying to get their hands on. Using exclusivity—one of the hallmarks of luxury fashion—will cause beauty editors and reporters to feel flattered enough to write a piece, while building your brand's image as high-end and coveted.
Take advantage of underutilized publications
If you're only pitching reporters at Vogue and Elle, you're missing out on a huge chance to increase sales and get coverage. Pitching smaller publications with hyper-engaged audiences will allow you to access a market that's ready to buy—since the consumers that read the publications are fiercely loyal to them and take their recommendations as gospel.
Drop big names and numbers into headlines
Fashion and beauty editors receive thousands of emails from "up and coming" brands every day, and they use the headline to weed out which they should actually pay attention to. Therefore, you have to spend extra tome crafting a headline so intriguing, reporters can't help but click. If any celebrity has worn your products from your line, namedrop them in the headline. If there are thousands of people on your waiting list, make that the focus. If there's no element to attract attention in the headline, your brand will be dismissed.
Infuse your pitch with urgency
Fashion trends take months to cycle, so your pitch needs to convince beauty editors to cover your brand now rather than later. To create a sense of urgency, you can use the cultural calendar to create instant relevancy. Capitalizing on quirky holidays like National Dress Day on March 6 gives reporters a tangible reason to write about your product as soon as they open the email, while providing consumers with a fun excuse to purchase it.
How to Impact a brand with Fashion PR
Failure to create a distinctive brand in the fashion industry will most certainly mean failure for your client. Fashion PR professionals promote not just the clothing itself, but the emotional benefit of what the clothing represents. Without a strong brand, it’s difficult to attract fashion editors to write about your brand or particular collection. It is difficult to develop campaign ideas that will resonate with a brand’s ideal customer base, if you have a strong brand in place.
Key people in the fashion industry that work with Fashion PR
One of the most important jobs for a fashion public relations professional is to build a relationship with the editors of fashion magazines, digital websites and influencers and celebrities, and models. It’s the PR professional’s responsibility to develop relationships with fashion editors and stylists and fashion companies expect fashion publicists to leverage those business relationships to help drive publicist. Effective buzz is created when fashion magazines promote a line, effectively endorsing its appeal as expert trendsetters. New brands won’t succeed if no one knows they exist. For this reason, one aspect of fashion PR is often getting clothing in the hands of celebrities, influencers and models with strong social media followings. When a celebrity wears a certain piece, the public, by way of fashion magazines and other venues, find out about it and want it.
Rapid Response is Key to Fashion PR
Not only may you be expected to work with editors and people on the inside, but you’ll also work with customers, retail stores, and fashion companies, where strong egos are common. Public relations can be a stressful position, as you are often the go-between for clients, media and client expectations. What skills do you have to make sure the customer is happy? What will you do if disaster strikes, such as a damaged shipment or merchandise that does not arrive on time? How good are you at handling complaints and keeping your client in a popular and positive light?
Understanding media trends in order to impact a brand
Interviews, press conferences, and press releases are an important part of the responsibilities of a fashion public relations professional. A PR person must keep a strong relationship with the media. The ability to work with the media in gaining continued attention for your client’s fashion is how to keep the fashion front and center in the public’s eye. While doing that, a PR fashion professional must have the skills to handle the tough questions and keep the client’s messaging front and center.
Keys to success are Innovation, Creativity and a wide range of knowledge
With billions of people on social media, fashion public relations professionals are not just thinking in terms of press coverage, but in terms of building the client’s own following across social media. How proficient are you on working effectively with social media or on hiring and overseeing a professional social media expert to take over the reigns of this important responsibility? In addition to revealing and presenting the clothes themselves, the day to day operations of a PR professional is increasingly about giving the public a more intimate look into the behind the scenes details of the fashion brand.
How to show the value of your work
There may be everything from stockholder’s reports, media resources, market resource publications, press releases and client reports to manage. You will be expected to keep the system moving for your clients while proving your value, over and over again.
The life of a public relations fashion specialist is an exciting one for someone who believes in the fashion and who can sincerely commit to the lines represented. You must be hardworking, personable, innovated and organized to be a successful.