Monday

Books now available as Kindle editions on Amazon...

Want to read The Pocket Guide to Fashion PR and The Pocket Guide To The Fashion Media?


You can now download them via Amazon.com from (literally) anywhere in the world.

Both guides now available as Kindle editions.












Pocket Guide To Fashion PR


 











Pocket Guide To The Fashion Media

Friday

That Media Feeling

I still get a mini pang of joy when I see a particularly good piece of coverage credited to a new brand. Client and press meetings aside, when fashion PR’ing full time, my favourite time of the working day was picking up new issues and flicking through to discover the coverage we had secured.

When working with fledgling labels, any national press coverage – in newspapers or magazines – was a triumph. A good image in the likes of Vogue or The Independent could make a huge difference to them, both financially and emotionally. The idea that a recognised publication deemed their jewellery/clothes/shoes worthy of exposure, acted as a real boost to a new designer. Likewise, coverage achieved for the more established designer, re-affirms their standing and re-emphasises that they are a brand worth buying and featuring.

Throughout my years in fashion PR, I was continually surprised by the various results we received. What I often thought would be a small image within the back pages of a publication, could turn in to a front cover shot. Similarly, images that were originally destined for a celebrity feature would end up on the editing floor. But that’s another matter entirely. So for nostalgic informative reasons, I’ve posted a few of my  favourite pieces of press coverage. These images highlight that you don’t need to be a global label to secure coverage that money just can’t buy.



One of my top 5. What began as a basic shoot with footwear brand Mootich, ended up as full page in The Sunday Times. We had an incredible response and the shoot was great fun.


This shot from Marie Claire was one of the first main shoots I secured. This was in fact a double page shot for womenswear label Odie and Amanda. To say we were all thrilled with the result would be an understatement.
 
 

This shot for a jewellery designer client is a favourite for a number of reasons. To be in
Harper's was a triumph, the shoot was incredible, such a strong image, and it was
wonderful to be alongside so many other fabulous labels.
  

The Saturday Times magazine is always great for exposure, so this Shop Of The Week
feature was an absolute coup for a very new Islington based shoe boutique.

   

A front cover that we couldn't have secured if we had tried. Rarely do you see footwear on the cover of national broadsheets but it was such a fabulous day when we we saw this on the news stands. A perfect example of how PR can surprise you.

Tuesday

Fashion Titles...Part 2

The reaction to my last post - Fashion Titles - was so positive that I thought you might be interested to read a few more job descriptions, taken from The Pocket Guide to The Fashion Media.

Apologies for taking so long to update my posts. I could provide a thousand and one excuses, or I could just say that I am officially a rubbish blogger. I opt for the latter.

Commissioning Editor

The Commissioning Editor is expected to stay on top of key trends and discovering notable trade movements that should be reflected in their publication. Such editors will also commission writers within the team to produce the articles and features for the publication.

“The content of Dazed Digital is run by myself only but input is given from the magazine's fashion department too. My days are mostly spent in front of an iMac surfing, editing stories, and sourcing”. Commissoning Editor, Dazed Digital
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Accessories/Jewellery Editor

An editor with specialist interest and/or experience in fashion accessories. Assumes similar responsibilities to a Fashion Editor however more focus is dedicated to the selection of footwear, bags, jewellery and general accessories for a publication.

“I decide on stories for shoots including visual concept, direction, treatment, photographer, hair, makeup, styling. Accessories make for great and dynamic still life and are the key to dressing up a low key outfit”. Michael Temprano, Fashion & Accessories Editor
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Contributing Fashion Editor

Like an Editor at Large, a contributing editor is not commonly responsible for any major decision making within a publication and does not contribute to the final edit. A Contributing Fashion Editor is often an established freelancer who is noted for producing articles that are of relevance and interest to a publications target reader.
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Stylist
Within the setup up of a publication a stylist is ultimately responsible for realising the vision of a fashion teams brief. Often publications will employ freelance stylists via an agency who represent commercially successful fashion stylists. Responsibilities may include sourcing relevant clothing and accessories (via PR’s/brands), having input in to the choice of location and deciding upon the relevant outfits that best reflect the mood, colour palette and theme of the story/brief. Occasionally a publication will bestow the title “Senior Stylist” upon an in-house staff member with superior experience or control.

“Every day is different., there’s quite a bit of variety in my work. I’m often visiting PRs to call in clothes and I regularly visit designers whose shows I style at their studios to see their upcoming collection and discuss the looks in preparation for the next season”. Rebekah Roy, Freelance Stylist
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Shopping Editor

The role of a Shopping Editor is to explore the market, trends and products on behalf of the publications readers. Constantly searching for the season’s most desirable pieces, a Shopping Editor must aim to succinctly reflect the current fashion trends that are monopolising both the high street and designer brands, allowing their readers to quickly and easily stay abreast of the fashion industry’s movements and purchase products accordingly.

Sunday

Fashion Titles

As a designer who wants to establish firm relationships with their target press contacts, it is vital that you understand exactly who you should be contacting at a publication and why. Flick through the credits page in any magazine and you will see a vast number of names attached to various job titles. The set up of a publications' fashion team can appear confusing; who do you contact for editorial coverage, who is the best person to contact if you want to send over images of your new collection, etc.

The Pocket Guide To The Fashion Media features a simple break down of the various individuals within an editorial fashion department. Below is an extract from the list, including quotes from leading Editors, writers and stylists from the fashion industry.

Fashion Features Director/Editor

Key responsibilities include generating fashion features and interview ideas for the magazine. Fashion Features Directors and Editor’s are also required to maintain strong relationships with fashion PR’s and industry contacts to secure stories and interviews that will be relevant to the publication and its readers.

“My job is fairly pressurised as there are so many different demands on my time but as I am responsible for a specific section of the magazine my role has set boundaries, and is therefore manageable! My role includes keeping abreast of all the latest fashion and shopping news to compiling fashion news pages and commissioning freelance writers and editing their copy where necessary”. Fashion Features Editor, Marie Claire magazine
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Senior Fashion / Fashion Editor at Large
Generator of new ideas for features, a Senior Fashion Editor and Fashion Editor at Large contribute editorially however they are not necessarily based in-house. Topics of contribution are often of their own choosing and are required to add a sense of variety to the publication. Editors at Large are not usually responsible for major decisions within the editorial team. As before, an Associate Fashion Editor is just below a Fashion Editor in terms of the staff hierarchy.
 ____________________

Executive/ Fashion Editor
Usually reporting to the Editor in Chief, the Fashion Editor controls the direction of a publications’ fashion pages, overseeing the creation, development and presentation of the fashion sections. Responsible for ensuring all fashion writers submit features on time, providing feedback and editing the content if necessary. Varying job titles are commonly used to reflect slight variations in experience and kudos of the individuals concerned.

“The role of Fashion Editor of Cosmopolitan entails producing the fashion pages for the magazine on a monthly basis. The challenge is to keep them full of fresh ideas, pack them with product whilst keeping them beautiful to look at. I look after our shopping pages and produce main fashion shoots in addition to styling our celebrity cover shoots. The Fashion Editor engineers how the fashion pages are represented in your magazine, what you edit is seen by hundreds of thousands of people so it’s a big responsibility to get it right and ensure you are providing what your readers want.” Fashion Editor, Cosmopolitan magazine
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Online Editor
The Online Editor assumes overall editorial responsibility for an online magazine. Highest ranking position, they are in control of a team of writers, stylists etc.

‘No two days are ever quite the same, but my key responsibility is making marieclaire.co.uk a must-visit online destination for fashion-savvy, thirty-something women. I have a team of writers and picture editors underneath me creating unique content for the site, but I also work with the magazine editorial team who contribute to the site on a daily basis too. As an editor, an important part of my job is liaising with the marketing, publishing and commercial teams on traffic-driving and advertising initiatives” Editor, www.marieclaire.co.uk
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Freelance Fashion Writer/Journalist/Reporter
Almost identical job description to a Fashion Writer but freelance fashion writers are independently employed, working on a commission basis. It is not uncommon for successful writers to embark on a freelance career following a career in-house at a magazine or newspaper.

“Whatever happens, I’m on my laptop every morning reading up on all the blogs I follow as well as the day’s news. I’m usually pitching ideas for stories so this will involve research and then emailing the appropriate editors for the story. When I’m working on a story I’ll be on the phone to PR’s, the editor, writing and getting images together or interviewing someone and then transcribing.” Kiki Georgiou, Freelance Fashion Writer
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Bookings Editor
Responsible for casting and booking the models and/or celebrities used in the fashion pages and on the cover. The Bookings Editor aims to match appropriate models with the upcoming shoot/story, e.g. classic beauty for a high fashion sophisticated shoot, then presents the images of chosen models to the fashion editors who will make the final selection.

“My job title is Fashion and Celebrity Bookings Editor and my role is to produce the fashion and celebrity shoots for the magazine. This involves casting, locations, logistics and budgets as well as co-coordinating the working schedules of Editors to ensure the shoots happen on deadline and within budget”. Bookings Editor, UK Vogue
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Fashion Assistant

A fashion assistant is usually responsible for maintaining an orderly fashion cupboard (home to all the product samples sent it by brands/PR’s) and are on hand to assist editors and stylists accordingly. Duties vary between liaising with PR’s to answering phones and requesting, receiving and returning press samples on behalf of the fashion editors. They may also have their own feature (s) in the publication to work on. Publications may utilise the term “Senior Fashion Assistant” to differentiate between levels and responsibilities of internal assistants.

“I do my own pages at front of book and assist the Fashion Director on main fashion and covers. I also do some of my own shoots for fashion features." Fashion Assistant, Elle Magazine
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Fashion Intern
A common prerequisite for those wanting to embark on a long term career within a fashion publication, internships are generally unpaid blocks of work experience lasting anywhere between a week and several months. Generally interns are of degree age (18+) upwards and duties vary from assisting the fashion assistant’s to returning products to brands and PR firms.

“Most interns assist on local shoots. Responsibilities might include packing up all the samples for the shoot, organising taxi’s for the team, setting up and steaming clothes, getting lunch etc. You will more than likely pack all the clothes up once the shoot is over and return all the items to their respective PR’s over the following week or so.” Fashion Intern, Wallpaper

Thursday

The Question of Moccasins

I love Moccasins. I also love old bags (note the abscence of 'vintage'), silk shirts with bows and - generally speaking - anything that looks like it was first purchased by a stylish lady in the mid 40's. But whilst a cracked leather holdall or pure silk wrap can accentuate most outfits, a pair of moccasins can either float you on the fashion sea or drag you to its bed like an anchor.

My first pair of moccasins were purchased by my mother, on a family trip to Malta. In St Julian in the early 90's they were de rigueur amongst the islands young folk. Wanting to fully embrace the trend (and why wouldn't you for a two week holiday?) my mother bought them under the caveat that they were to be my school shoes for the following term. I agreed in haste. On our return, the said moccasins immediately bought me out in hives. They symbolised a rash fashion choice that haunted me for several months. Their overwhelming hideousness (I am aware this is not a word), glared smugly at both me and my indignation, five days a week. It took over fifteen years for me to revisit the style. I stumbled across a simple Russell and Bromley navy blue pair for an absolute bargain and the deal was done. Now it would be fair to admit, I am hooked.

Apparantly the original duty of the native American moccasin was to enable the wearer to feel the ground. I'm not sure that's an attribute that crosses the mind of most Western moccasin lovers today, yet the style can help you feel 'grounded', sensible almost. To counteract such common connotations, I'm about to indulge in these rather fabulous outdoor moccasins from Boden, £59 though the choice between the white and the green is a difficult one.



The true fashionista will probably have a typical hi top pair of boots such as these Minnetonka Back Zippers from Net-A-Porter, £80,

though the last year or two has seen a rise in the popularity of the Minnetonka Thunderbird.




Available from Minnetonka.co.uk , £55,50 (a sixty year old company, dedicated to all things moccasin), both the black and brown colourways are simply fabulous. A favourite of my dear friend Kiki Georgiou, they add a welcome, native twist to an enduring design.  


 
Finally, this leather embellished design from Marc by Marc Jacobs available from farfetch.com, £140 is also rather tempting.
The list of stylish moccasins is growing fast. I could not predict how long this fashion love affair will last, nor do I know what mass footwear fetish is around the corner (just please let it not be Kickers). All I do know is that I need to purchase now before the choice begins to make my head fizz and I end up making a rash decision. Thanks to my early Maltese fashion experience, I learned that you need to stand by you choices, however dodgy they seem once your feet have hit the ground.

Friday

The (very young) face of fashion

I was just twenty-two when I decided to launch Preo PR: young by most peoples' standards. When Preo launched, there was just a handful of independent, boutique fashion PR companies, whose clients were exclusively womenswear and accessory designers. These days you might be forgiven for thinking that there are more PR companies focussing on fashion and lifestyle than any other industry, such is the pace at which similar Public Relations firms are launched.

Is it the glamorous facade that has tempted so many in to this niche area of PR? Perhaps the term 'niche' no longer applies to the fashion industry? Certainly I have noticed fashion applying to an ever growing range of disciplines over the last decade. The Guardian's Saturday fashion pages are a perfect illustration of how fashion is now anyone’s business, regardless of age. When I was at school, a pair of Kickers and a Chipie jumper would be suitable attire for non-uniform day (perhaps explaining my dislike of branded clothing). These days however, many young teenagers - females in particular - are styled to a level I grew up seeing only in the pages of J17 magazine. Occasionally very impressive, sometimes clich├ęd, one could ask what these super-styled kids will look like in their 20's, 30's and older. Like the friends that were gifted the BMW for their 17th birthday, what will they look forward to driving in their 20's? Surely it's all downhill from a 3 series soft top? Unless you fund a shopping addiction with a part time job, looking good (whether that be down to TopShop purchases or a charity store scoop) costs money. And if Mother/Father isn't prepared to pick up the tab of their thirty year old daughter, then how can she possibly maintain her wardrobe and feed her habit?

Growing up in North London, 'looking good' was a basic requirement and from what I see on the streets of Golders Green, Hampstead and Winchmore Hill, it still is. Well groomed, with a hint of street, the North London girl knows her brands and is adept at combining designer with high street. But how soon this knowledge should be exhibited is, for me at least, a question worth asking. When I was ten years old, my favourite dress was covered in blue newspaper prints. I'll be honest with you, it was cool, very cool in fact. But I don't love it retrospectively, I loved it then. Cart wheeling around the garden, stopping to read an extract of news on the skirt, the dress made me happy. It mattered not where the dress came from, the label was an irrelevancy. I appreciate the modern influences, I understand why a young girl might like to have Cheryl's eye lashes and Pixie's hair (hell I was desperate for Kylie's blck hat with the hole in the middle) but can a fashion conscious twelve year old really believe that her self worth is inflated by donning a designer brand? Is that really how it works?

I know this is a tired ol' debate that has been broached by those both more liberal and conservative than I but every time I see a young girl with a labelled bag and designer pumps, I often wonder: is she is wearing the clothes or the clothes are wearing her. Perhaps I am not providing these fashion aware youngsters with enough credit (and I am absolutely not painting all young teens with the same brush). Perhaps their clothes do make them feel all warm on the inside. Perhaps they dress for themselves and not for others? Perhaps, perhaps. All I can be sure of is that I breathe a sigh of relief that I am not a young teenager in 2010, for fashions' sake at least.

Saturday

Advice To The Intern

I was recently contacted by a young reader of The Pocket Guide To The Fashion Media, seeking advice on working within the fashion media.  Now, this isn't my area of expertise but the information I gained whilst writing the new guide enabled me to offer her a few tips.  Here's what I said.

The Question

"I am 22 years of age and graduated in summer 2009 with an English degree. Since then I have completed a years worth of experience across 7 renowned publications (and still have 3 more booked). I am so passionate and really do want to get my first foot in the door, however obviously realise how difficult and competitive it can be. This is why I am writing to you with regards to the mentoring to see what is on offer and perhaps get some tips with applications, etc. Whenever I have recently applied for a paid intern or junior position, I try to get some feedback but noone is ever willing to do so."

The Answer

"I’m presuming, armed with your English degree, you are wanting to become a fashion writer. Are you currently writing? From your own point of view you must be nurturing your craft, staying up to date with your industry and writing about it wherever possible. Even if your writing is never read (for the time being), it helps you to establish a pattern of observing and commenting – meaning when you finally do get a job in the industry, the dedication and time management skills will not be entirely new to you. Acting as though you are already in the industry, being paid to write, will make the transition from intern to employee much easier.


You say you are passionate. This is exactly what the press want to see. But your passion has to have a focus. As an intern you need to be jack of all trades but consider the areas of fashion in which you hold the most interest and establish a few key areas on which you are really well informed. It will undoubtedly be the instance in which you can assist with knowledge/experience (of a trend/brand/genre of fashion) that will make you stand out from all the other interns. As much as you need to know a little about a lot to get on in the industry, it is key knowledge and expertise that will make you stand out.


Do you have a blog? This seems to be so vital in today’s industry and ensure you are conversing with other bloggers/twitterers etc. Build up a presence, make connections and start creating a name for yourself. You never know who is listening, reading or popping on to your blog.


Re getting feedback, perhaps focus less of the feedback from those not looking to take you on, instead garner feedback from those you have already worked with. If possible, try to get a quote or two from a Fashion Ed or stylist to add to your CV, along the lines of “she was really great at ....” When you are on an internship, make sure you are networking, taking names and email addresses and building up a database of potential colleagues/future employees. This should hold weight for future publications."