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So you want to be a Fashion Publicist?

In preparation for my plunge into the fashion world I’ve done some research on what exactly I’m getting myself into.  What can I expect as an entry-level fashion PR person? From salary to daily tasks and expectations, I’ve used my fashion PR resources online and in print to create a quick rundown for aspiring fashion publicists.

The role of a fashion publicist is better understood with an understanding of what fashion PR is.  Fashion PR is all about building and maintaining a strong brand image that reaches a target audience or consumer base. Fashion publicists create positive brand imagery and publicity through a range of promotional activities.  Media placement, celebrity endorsement, press events, brand launches, fashion shows, networking with editors, and spotlights by prominent fashion bloggers are just some of the activities fashion publicists use.

“A good fashion publicist creates lasting professional relationships, works with his/her client to their brand, plans, and has impeccable communication skills. Stay tuned for the next post, which will be about How To Get Into Fashion PR.” –Keisha McCorty (from Fab Counsel)

My favorite explanation of the field comes from Fab Counsel. Beyond the glamorous parties and events to attend fashion publicists must also work hard at relationship building, research, creativity, and writing.  Coming up with new ways to promote a product or pitch an initiative are key to getting noticed and excelling in the field.  Ones ability to effectively network and build strong relationships with clients, media outlets, stores, photographers, and designers can make or break your success on the job.

 Fashion PR avenues

True to the nature of public relations there are many potential avenues to pursue when becoming a PR publicist.  I turn once again to my fashion PR bible to identify some of my options.  Fashion Publicists can work “in-house”, for an agency, in a showroom, for a fashion house, or free-lance.  I am currently debating between pursuing one of the two most popular options, in-house and agency. Here’s what I’ve gathered from PR Closet and my fashion PR bible:

  • “In-house” PR is a more long-term opportunity to work with one brand. This allows publicists to build a strong understanding for the brand’s vision and progression. In-house publicists are privy to new developments faster than external sources.
  • Agency – Agencies come in all sizes, from big corporate types like Olgivy who contain fashion and beauty departments, to boutique agencies with staff sizes around 5-50 people.  Agencies provide more variety in workload and challenge publicist to juggle multiple clients at a time with different promotional goals and needs. 
 A day in the life

Fashion PR is a lot more grunt work than it is glamour.  This means long hours, multitasking, and being incredibly organized.  An average day consists of planning for upcoming promotional events, following up on leads, working on pitch packages, finding useful bloggers, maintaining the brand’s social media outlets, sending out free samples, and checking in with the client.

Show me the money

Fashion publicists adopt a variety of titles as they climb the fashion PR ladder to the top. Each rung provides a decent pay bump and considerably more responsibility. Entry-level employees tend to make $30-$35k and experienced publicists generally make $50-$70k with top-level publicists earning around six figures (Ready to Launch, Crosby Norricks Pg. 43). According to indeed.com the average salary for Fashion PR specialists in New York is around $80k…I’m definitely moving to New York.

Stock Photo

Stock Photo

What sold me

The challenge is great and the idea of pursuing the field is daunting but I’m ready to face the fashion world head on.  Here’s what keeps me excited to become a fashion publicist.

  • Helping brands with great potential become the next ‘it’ thing in fashion
  • The ability to be apart of the fashion conversation
  • Gaining access to fashion influencers and ultimately influencing culture
  • The organization and planning that goes into building relationships with editors, writers, designers, stylists
  • Oh yea, and of course the fancy events and free fashion!

If my list doesn’t sell you, Crosby Norricks’ 7 reasons you work in PR certainly will!

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7 Comments

  • Reply tnickel1

    Hi, Autumn,
    It’s awesome that you are pursuing your interest in fashion professionally. Often, students and young professionals just decide they like an industry and try to wing it, but you’ve really done your homework on the expectations, rewards and challenges in the fashion industry. Because you’ve built your blogging community and have great experience, I think you’ll be very successful! 🙂

    Taylor

    March 12, 2014 at 1:08 PM
    • Reply autumnchanelpr

      Thanks Taylor! I think the more I research the more confident I become in my decision. I just started applying to agencies in NYC today! Ah!

      March 12, 2014 at 3:00 PM
  • Reply penniespartiespacifiers

    Autumn,

    Another wonderful post. I can always tell that you do your homework and research before reading your blog posts. I am very interested in special event planning and PR, but fashion PR was not something that I had put much thought into. Thank you for giving me, and your readers more insight into the fashion PR world.

    Autaum

    April 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM
  • Reply autumnchanelpr

    Thanks Autaum! I’ve thought about event planning to but would definitely need some hands on experience to know if it’s a good fit for me. Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do both in fashion. Boutique agencies often are responsible for putting on fashion shows and press events for their clients. Fingers crossed!

    April 14, 2014 at 9:27 PM
  • Reply Victoria Ripepi

    Hi Autumn! I love your blog! I am currently a communications major which I sometimes regret because I would have loved to major in fashion and minor in PR. I thought your post offered some very valid points. Fashion PR seems like a very glamours job but in order to be someone, you have to work your way to the top! I think your blog is a great way for you to get your ideas out there! Do you have any advice for someone like myself that wants to possibly go into a career in fashion PR but has a communications degree with a minor in PR?

    April 15, 2014 at 9:38 PM
    • Reply autumnchanelpr

      Hey Victoria! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I think the great thing about Fashion PR is that you can get into it at basically any point you decide. There’s no set path to how to becoming a fashion publicist. I’m learning it’s more about just getting out there and getting experience in the field. I’d recommend keeping your communication and PR skills sharp because those will be the crucial foundation for the planning and strategic elements of Fashion PR. Hopefully this blog and the research I’ve been doing to understand the field will help me land an actual Fashion PR job!

      April 15, 2014 at 9:52 PM
  • Reply America's Open Roads

    It appears you’ve done the research as to what it takes to succeed. No doubt as you communicate to potential employers they will see you know your stuff. It’s the understanding of this vertical market and how to work within it that makes the difference. Continue your confidence and share your experience through these posts – at some point, someone will take notice and sign you on. Then others will only which they did first.

    May 7, 2014 at 4:36 PM
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