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  • Writer's pictureSharika

The Uncharted Territory of Fashion PR

It’s been just a little while since I started in this industry and to this day I sometimes can not believe how the stars aligned and I ended up working at one of the most prominent fashion houses in the world and that to doing something I truly enjoy.

Back in May last year, when I was still figuring out if I really wanted to study ahead or if I wanted to start working, I picked up Aliza Licht’s book “Leave Your Mark” after reading about it on an article about books for fashion. I had just started my blog and it began just as a read into how I wanted to perform at interviews and how I should be post-interviews. For example, one big tip I learned from her is to always ALWAYS e-mail the interviewer after the interview if you have their e-mail address. By the second time I had done that the interviewer actually responded back with how professional they had felt that was and they were optimistic about my chances. (Fortunately, that didn’t work out because otherwise, I probably would have been in a boring 9-5 job.) Even while reading this book, I was toying with the idea of going into fashion. I mean it was and is a dream job, but the reality is that it isn’t the best paying job from the get-go and also let’s not forget with Indian parents, I wasn’t sure how they would react. (They’ve come to terms with it especially after seeing how much I started smiling by my second week working.) But this book gave me the confidence boost that I needed to think that I may someday have a shot in the industry, because no one around me was in the PR industry and barely did I know anyone in the fashion industry. All of this was uncharted territory.

Cut to November end, I was in for an interview at a fashion house, at one of the most iconic fashion brands ever, at CALVIN KLEIN. ( I still get goosebumps…) I mean, the day I had my interview, it was probably the easiest interview I had given because all that I had said came so naturally. I could talk about how iconic the brand was and what it meant to someone like me and boy did I go on about the MET GALA. I had never felt more confident walking out of the interview.

As I settled into the position, I start referencing more pop culture and that’s when I was in on one of the best secrets ever… the 2019 Spring Campaign and how Shawn was going to be a part of it. The day the campaign was launched is probably one of my favorite days. Especially since it was ironically to the date six months since I had met him and told him how much his music had helped me and made me stronger.

Another one of my favorite days more like a process of days was when we shot the #MYTRUTH campaign and the response it had gotten. The #MYTRUTH campaign was my first campaign in terms of modifying it for the target audience here, to finding influencers, working with them to create looks, and shooting the content. It helped that the team shooting, I had known them from college so it put me at ease when I was working on the creative process. It truly gave me perspective on how much thought goes into creating content and made me want to work harder on my Instagram content. Although in complete honesty, I was so stressed about it that my skin has been crazy ever since.

Now moving on to what I actually what to share and what many of you probably voted yes for on my Instagram poll. The four things I learned that were unexpected and surprised me.

Being in PR, especially as an assistant, there are days where all I do is go through numbers.

I feel like I have had more time with Excel than I have when I actually studied Information Technology back in IGCSE days. From crunching numbers about the growth of influencers to finding the percentage of target audience that an influencer has to figuring out which influencer or pair of influencers has the best return on invest. Because no matter what it’s not just about the how the pretty or cool the content is,  it’s about if the picture leads to people tapping on the tagged account and start shopping.

How leaks can happen and sometimes there is literally no way to control it.

By the time, February rolled around and the campaign was days away, fan accounts got hold of pictures that were being put in stores. To this day it surprises me how Shawn Mendes’ fan accounts have such a significant reach but there are only a few (Shoutout to Maha and Alicia from MendesCrewInfo!) who actually wait for the news to be confirmed before posting about a campaign or a song. And this isn’t particular to just him, but what I learned is that since everyone is looking for their 5 minutes of social media fame, it is nearly impossible to cap leaks. For example by the time I had gotten a fan account on Instagram to take down the post with Shawn in his blue trunks, the picture had already been like by 50,000 people.

How much times it takes curating the showroom

Just like in a store, the press showroom is the first impression that people like stylists and influencers get when they come in and just like when you have a guest over at your home, you have to make sure that everything looks visually appealing and the whole process of them picking pieces and deciding which ones lease has to be smooth. Maintaining the press room began to feel like maintaining a giant walk in closet and ironically it lead me to a point where I am exhausted to go back home and fix my own wardrobe. (It’s highly overdue!) Things have to be sorted not only by when they would potentially be delivered in the retail stores, but also as paired looks with key items, which are the ones that we are looking to push in that delivery period or the season as a whole. It’s a subtle balance between focusing on the basics and the eye catching iconic pieces for the season.

Just because an influencer has a large following doesn’t mean that they have a solid and profitable impact.

I’m not going to name any names, but I have come to realize that sometimes just because someone is a model outside of Instagram, or just because they have a large following, it does not mean that they have a profitable impact that resonates with the target audience. It’s all about who not only fits the bill and the brand message, but also about who can deliver maximum content and keep that maintained. Many times the work I do with nano or barely micro influencers is much more effective as they have higher engagement and are more driven to post. Sometimes people underestimate such influencers, but they have much more of a genuine relationship with their followers which leads to more people looking into the brand as a whole.

This has been a pretty long post, but if you want more tips and tricks you can always DM me on Instagram and I will try my best to help. Speaking of Instagram I have a giveaway there now!!

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