Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in fashion. I was introduced to public relations in a high school speech class and became immediately and immensely intrigued. During freshman orientation at Auburn, I learned that public relations is a growing field in the fashion industry, so I picked up a major in public relations as well as apparel merchandising.
The summer following my junior year, I completed an in-house public relations internship with a women’s contemporary clothing designer in New York City. I was the sole public relations intern in the company and also assisted the sales team before the other interns started for the summer.
Some of my responsibilities as a public relations intern were:
- Running clothes across the city to magazine editors for photo shoots.
- Lending clothes to stylists for movie shoots.
- Keeping track of press placements.
- Helping run the sample sales or pop-up shops, including set up, break down, inventory and promotion.
- Pitching stories and events to short and long-lead press.
- Writing press releases for events.
- Writing collateral for the designer’s collection, which is what the whole collection revolves around.
- Merchandising pieces from individual collections together to figure out what styles we could drop or if we needed more clothes.
- Assisting in the photo shoots for collections.
Breaking into the industry: Working in fashion public relations is fun, fast-paced and highly competitive. It takes a thick skin and a sharp eye for details. Staying in front of the trends is imperative for success and being able to anticipate what magazines are looking for is a skill that will serve you well. Additionally, pay attention to social media sites – e.g., Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. – because those are the easiest, most cost-efficient ways to reach out to your biggest brand advocates.
Some advice for aspiring fashion public relations professionals on what to read for industry trends:
- Harper’s Bazaar
- Fashion blogs (Among my favorites are the Sartorialist, Who What Wear, Refinery29, Stylelist and Into the Gloss.)
While I no longer work in the fashion industry, I value my time there because it helped me develop and hone a variety of skills I still use today in professional services public relations.
Rebecca Dill is an account executive at Poston Communications, an Atlanta-based public relations agency focused on professional services companies including law, accounting, architecture, associations, construction and interior design. A graduate of Auburn University, Dill holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations and a Bachelor of Science in Apparel Merchandising. Dill is a member of the PRSA New Professionals Section and the PRSA Georgia Chapter.
Photo source: History of Fashion Designers