Since I am currently pursuing an undergraduate degree, I get asked quite frequently “what are you studying?”. When I reply with “public relations with a concentration in fashion”, most people get a confused look on their faces and I can immediately tell that they do not understand what I am talking about.
This is the moment that I take to educate them. I always start off the explanation by telling them that public relations is the function of ensuring a company’s image is always presented in the most positive light by building relationships between that company and it’s audiences. According to Lindsey Green, Director of Communications for Jill Stuart, she spends her time as a fashion publicist “focusing on gaining exposure for our line, whether it is communicating with editors and seeing what styles they need for upcoming shoots, talking to celeb stylists and coordinating which looks would be great for their clients, [and] setting up photo shoots and interviews.” This type of public relations is called “In House PR” which means a publicist works in house for only one brand. This set up gives publicists the ability to gain an intimate collection with the clothing line and build relationships with the design teams. The other type of public relations utilized in fashion is “Agency PR”. Many times fashion houses will outsource event planning or media relations to an agency in order to make sure operations run smoothly internally. Working for a fashion house, such as Jill Stuart, as a fashion publicist in a department of communication is my goal after college.
Clothing companies, through their “In House PR” deparments, will sometimes develop student programs in order to increase their public relations campaigns on college campuses. Currently, I work for Southern Tide as a Campus Brand Ambassador and my primary job is to promote the clothing brand on campus. Companies, like Southern Tide, will overload their ambassadors with products such as koozies, t-shirts, croakies, etc., to pass out on campus in order to raise brand awareness. In my opinion, this is an effective use of a tangible program and public relations in the fashion industry.