How To Do Your Own Fashion PR

Having a fashion publicist is definitely worth the cost, but if you’re an emerging fashion designer, that may not be a business expense you can afford just yet. If you’re working with a zero budget for your PR campaign, don’t sweat. (Well, try not to.) Here are a few ways to get around that dilemma and pitch your fashion label on your own:

1. Do research on how to pitch effectively.

One of the biggest gripes that magazine editors have are weak pitches! If you’re going to go head-on with an editor, especially in fashion, have your pitch down to perfection as a PR professional would. Research what to say and what not to say. Know whom you are contacting by first name, last name, and title. Think of the “elevator pitch”. Can you introduce yourself and describe your company within 15 seconds? That’s how direct your pitch should be. List the basic who, what, where, why, when, and how in an easy, conversational tone, and conclude with an open-ended question about following up with you to send more information about your label.

2. Getting a follow-up and properly responding.

If you’re lucky, a fashion editor will get back to you in regards to featuring your collection in an upcoming issue. Be prepared for any requests that may be asked, i.e. designer bio, line sheets, lending agreements, or lookbook images. At this point, your lookbook or press kit should already be completed for your current collection, and make sure that it’s updated for every new season. Be swift in your responses to editors when they ask for things because they can easily move on to the next designer if you’re not keeping up with them. Remember, they have frantic deadlines and you’re considered to be on their time!

3. Sending your press release to the media.

A well-prepared press release can definitely alert the media of your new collection. Spend some time on PR distribution websites and study how the best ones are written. Follow the standard model of a press release and formulate a few paragraphs about the new release of your collection and about you as the designer. Set up a free account with press release distribution sites and schedule your releases to be sent out to the local media. You can also e-mail and fax your press release directly to news stations and newspapers (they’re always looking for local stories to cover). Who knows – what if you’re called in to be featured in a morning news segment? That’s definitely a good look for your press portfolio.

4. Invite the media to your launch party.

If you plan on celebrating the launch of your new collection, you’re responsible for securing the venue, setting up the event, and sending out media invites. It’s best to send formal invites to editors through the mail at least 3-4 weeks in advance so that gives them the opportunity to pencil you in their schedule. Fashion bloggers are also great to invite, of course. Event photos, blog write-ups, and Twitter mentions from different bloggers means more publicity for your fashion line, which you need in order to attract more customers. Make sure to save your press clips and send thank-yous to anyone doing coverage of your event.

5. Make friends with fashion stylists.

Another way to possibly have your fashion line featured in a magazine is to have a stylist hook-up. They’re always pulling clothes for photo shoots and looking for hot, new designers to work with. Get acquainted with some fashion stylists in your area by using social media and going to different fashion events in your city. It’s also good to know a lot of photographers, models, and makeup artists who can probably help get your collection used in an editorial photo shoot.

There’s so much work that goes into handling the PR side of a fashion label that more than likely should be handled by a pro. Once your label starts becoming increasingly profitable, hiring a good PR team to help you market your brand would be the best way to go. While it’s in your hands for now, do tons of research on the job of a fashion publicist and implement some of those ideas into your own marketing campaign.

How the Fashion Industry Uses Social Media

Black Friday and the exclusive Fashion Weeks: Two pinnacle times of the year where retailers and the fashion industry hope to make up for a bad year or put the cherry on top of an awesome upward-driven one. But leading up to (or concluding) these championship fights for retail revenue redemption and leader-crowning, how are retailers and the fashion industry elite getting the word out about the deals or extraordinary collections that they have to sell?

America’s retailers are learning how to chime in on the conversations of their customers through social media. Whether it be Facebook or Twitter, major retailers are learning what their customers like and don’t like based on their Facebook statuses, comments and tweets. Besides using commercials, retailers like Old Navy use their Twitter page to advertise the deals and discounts currently going on in their stores.

Retailers like Cole Haan are using digital media to create aliases for their customers based on the customers’ lifestyles and embed interactive games in their social media pages to compliment these efforts. Cole Haan’s Facebook page mentions “Like us and explore more” to encourage the visitor to dive deeper into how Cole Haan clothing and accessories cater to the “Urban Explorer”.

As B Culture has mentioned before, digital media is a powerful commercialized hammer that some celebrities have wisely wielded to secure the nail in the foundation of a fruitful relationship with their fans. This is the same for high-end fashion designers. Fans of celebrities, the customers of high-end fashion designers, often like for their customers to vote for “who wore it best” and post new looks through their social media fan pages. Celebrities are often the retail industry’s initial guinea pigs and retailers use their customers’ social media comments to know what trends are hitting or missing which is a heads up to the retailer on which ones they should follow or continue to produce.

Digital media also helps high-end fashion designers get the word out about how to access a designer’s full collection, the campaign and allows the fashion industry’s supporting cast – the Press and stylists – to chime in on what they liked or didn’t like, what fashion shows they are excited to see and how the public can mix and match the designer’s pieces. Louis Vuitton has their full Spring 2012 fashion show on YouTube. Before YouTube, customers could only dream of seeing a high-end fashion show from beginning to end. The video of the above Louis Vuitton fashion show is in HD, which further gives the viewer the experience of being at the actual show.

From New York Fashion Week to a new high-end boutique opening up in L.A., fashion editors and socialites can us Foursquare to let their followers know what fashion shows and store opening they are spiriting to cover or shop next. Retailers can also use Foursquare to reward their frequent visitors with special discounts and recognition. In the image above, Jeremy P. is listed as the major of Kenneth Cole in SoHo. Foursquare makes an individual a celebrity along with the place the individual frequents.

Digital and social media has given the customer more of an immediate say in what works and what doesn’t. This gives the retailer and designer the ability to react more quickly and efficiently within their next collection. It seems social media may have accelerated the transition between fashion trends because of the swift reaction to what’s hot and what’s not. Interactive media is now the digitalized style meteorologist for the fashion industry.

How to Become a Successful Fashion Model

Becoming a fashion model can be extremely exciting and rewarding. Some of the perks of fashion modeling are traveling to exotic locales, making a lot of money and meeting some of the most beautiful, interesting and creative people in the world.

Here are 10 tips to becoming a successful fashion model.

1. Get some snapshots taken and approach a local fashion modeling agency. Agencies love to see snapshots. Use natural light. Have a friend shoot a roll of film and pic out the best ones. Call up the modeling agencies in your area and ask when their open call times are. Open calls are times that agencies set aside to see new models. Dress simple and nicely and be prepared to ask any questions they have of you.

2. Move to a major market. New York is “king” when it comes to fashion modeling. Try and get signed by a major agency there like Ford, Elite or IMG. Most of the major cosmetic and advertising contracts come out of New York. If you are living in the United States Los Angeles, Miami are also great alternatives. If you are living in Europe consider Paris, London or Milan.

3. Be thin. Hire the services of a professional trainer and nutritionist if you have problems keeping the weight off. Agents routinely measure and weigh fashion models. Many models are dropped from their agencies for not having the correct measurements.

4. Network. It is important to work with the best photographers you can. Hire them. Get amazing pictures. It is your job and although agencies may assist you with this ultimately it is your responsibility. The images photographers give you will make or break you. Be nice to them and test as frequently as you can. Unless you are Heidi Klum of have books loaded with amazing tearsheets, keep testing.

5. Show up. It is very important to be on time. If you have a fashion shoot the next day do not go out and party. Look your best. Photographers are in constant contact with the agencies and will let them and future clients know if you have a bad reputation. When you are on set be courteous and stay off your cellphone. It is important to focus on the task at hand.

6. Become friends with powerful people. Editors like Anna Wintour of Vogue can make you famous. Superstar photographer Steven Meisel can launch your career instantly. Be nice to them and other industry professionals. You never know which assistant will be the next fashion editor or star photographer.

7. Date celebrities. Gisele Bundchen dated Leonardo DiCaprio before moving on to quarterback Tom Brady. Kate Moss was romantically linked for years to Johnny Depp and then became involved with British rocker Pete Doherty.

8. Brand yourself. Heidi Klum has a jewelry line. Gisele Bundchen is in talks with H&M about representing her lingerie line. You can buy Kate Moss’s clothes at Top Shop.

9. Have the right measurements. Although they fluctuate between markets the ideal measurement is to stand at least 5’9″ barefoot and weigh between 110 and 120 pounds. If you are a lot smaller consider commercial modeling and approach acting agencies. They need all types and sizes.

10. Be photogenic. The industry is fickle and what is hot one year isn’t necessarily hot the next. If you are photogenic and have that certain “je ne sais quois” (something special) you will attract modeling business.