Fashion PR is one of the most exciting, fast-paced careers in the fashion industry. With its glamorous image of fashion shows, parties and celebrities, it's unsurprisingly one of the most popular careers in the industry too.
It takes a lot of skill and hard work to be successful in fashion PR as it's unsurprisingly highly competitive. But if you’re creative, have excellent communication skills and love to network, then this could be the perfect career path for you.
Read our fashion PR careers guide and discover what public relations is, what PR managers do, how much they earn and how to kickstart a career in fashion PR.
WHAT IS FASHION PR?
Fashion PR, also known as fashion public relations, is the promotion of clothing and accessories brands via a range of marketing and media channels including social media, online outlets, print and broadcast.
The main role of a Public Relations Officer is to build and maintain a good public image for a brand. PR specialists don’t pay for publicity or media coverage, so they have to find creative ways to get their brand attention. Traditionally, this involved getting products in fashion magazines but over the years, the role has expanded into social media and influencer marketing.
Brands can’t succeed if no one knows they exist. PR helps them build a strong, positive brand image and drives enthusiasm and demand for their products. PR Expert and founder of East of Eden PR agency, Nick Ede, describes PR as ‘taking an object, a person, an item and giving it some space. Giving it a bit of fame. PR educates a consumer and hopefully makes them buy a product!”
WHAT DOES A PR MANAGER DO?
A Public Relations Managers role is to create and maintain a positive public image for the fashion brand or client they work for through planned publicity campaigns.
As a PR professional, you’ll plan, develop and implement PR strategies across all forms of media and communication. It's your job to build positive relationships with people across the industry with fashion editors, stylists, journalists and influencers. You’ll be mingling with some of the biggest names in fashion - and you’ll want to make sure you’re on good terms! Competition is severe, so you’ll sometimes need to use your connections and call in favours to secure the best media coverage.
You could work in-house for one brand, or at a PR agency and have several brand clients. The job is generally office-based, but you’ll probably have to travel regularly for events and parties. Often, these will be outside the traditional 9-5 working hours. In many cases, you might need to travel internationally as well.
It’s a wide-ranging role that can cover everything from press to events management, marketing campaigns to crisis communications and reputation management. Amy Simon, Head of PR at Pretty Little Thing, describes her role as “Head of PR, Influencers, VIP and the Kitchen Sink”
The main responsibilities of someone working in fashion PR are:
- Network and build strong relationships
- Monitor media coverage and opportunities
- Research and create content
- Plan events
- Send gifts and samples
- Analyse competitors
- Report on performance
- Crisis management
1. Network and Build Strong Relationships
One of the main responsibilities of someone in fashion PR is to network and build strong relationships with people. This includes everyone from celebrities, influencers and models to the press, photographers and stylists. The purpose of networking is to establish, build, maintain and ultimately leverage the right connections in order to promote your brand or product.
Networking is great for raising brand awareness and opening up opportunities. Whether it's building a relationship with a journalist who is willing to provide your brand coverage or liaising with a celebrity to gift them a clothing sample to post on social media, the opportunities are endless.
2. Monitor Media Coverage and Action Opportunities
Working in fashion PR not only means that you will need to send press releases, but you will also need to keep an eye on your competitors and monitor press coverage for your brand. You’ll run regular checks of the daily/weekly/monthly media for any mentions of your brand or potential new opportunities. Staying on top of current trends and news is crucial for ensuring you are the first to find out about any coverage opportunities. All of this information will be collected and made into reports to show senior managers at your brand.
You will also need to carry out interviews, attend press conferences and send press releases to journalists. The ability to work with the media to gain continued attention for your client’s brand is how to keep them at the forefront of the public’s attention. Keeping the client's message front and centre while managing tough questions is an essential skill for any PR fashion professional.
3. Research and Create Content
Researching and creating content to share online and in press releases is an essential component of fashion PR. You’ll need to create buzz and excitement around your products. Where the Marketing team might have a large budget for a big advertising campaign, you’ll have to generate press without directly paying for it.
You’ll need to do your research and be creative when it comes to getting your brand or products coverage. Whether you generate buzz through a PR stunt, get celebrities and influencers to wear your products or provide clothes for a music video or event, being innovative in how you generate content is a must.
4. Plan and Organise Events
You could be responsible for organising and running events to help raise awareness of your brand or client. There are lots of different types of events in the fashion industry including fashion shows, fashion week parties, influencer trips and press events. You will need to use your creativity to determine which event will work best for the brand you’re trying to promote.
You will be in charge of arranging every detail. From organising catering and music to sourcing guest speakers and sponsorship opportunities, there’s no limit to how your organisation skills might be put to the test.
“We’re their ambassador to the world,” says Brian Phillips of Blackframe PR in New York, “We find a way of doing that in interesting and unconventional ways sometimes.”
5. Send Gifts and Samples
A big part of fashion PR involves getting your brand or product in front of the right people. This often involves giving or loaning sample items to celebrities and stylists in the hope that they will be photographed, gaining your brand publicity.
The PR team will have their own sample showroom or “fashion cupboard” to store all the sample products. You’ll be sending backwards and forwards across the city to magazines, stylists and celebrities. As well as loaning samples, you’ll also send out VIP gifts to your brand ambassadors in the hope they’ll give your brand some free promotion and create some user-generated content (UGC).
6. Crisis Management
There may be times where you also need to manage your brand’s image in a potential crisis situation. Negative press or scandals can have a huge effect on brand loyalty and sales, so you’ll need to keep this to an absolute minimum. When disaster strikes, you’ll need to be the voice of the brand when interacting with the media, answering tough questions.
What Makes a Good Fashion PR Officer?
To succeed in the world of PR, you’ll need drive and determination, and a willingness to learn. The job can be hard work with long hours, so you’ll need enthusiasm and a positive mindset to get you through the tougher days! It can be an extremely rewarding and satisfying role, and it’s always rewarding to see your hard work pay off with a great piece of coverage. The nature of PR means it truly is a job where every day is different.
Fashion PR Skills
1. Knowledge of Journalism and Current Affairs
As you’ll regularly be talking and working with fashion journalists, editors and stylists, it’s important that you understand the world of journalism. You’ll need to know about news release formats, and how to write an effective press release. Fashion magazines are fast-paced companies, so if you don’t give the teams exactly what they need, you’ll miss out on the coverage!
You’ll also need to have good business awareness and a strong knowledge of current affairs. Amber recommends “[getting] to know the media landscape and [reading] as many different magazines and newspapers as you can”. You’ll want to be up-to-date with the latest trends; Instagram, TikTok and Twitter will keep you in the loop of pop culture and the news agenda.
As a PR professional, you won’t be directly paying people for coverage. This means you need to be highly creative and imaginative, coming up with exciting and interesting ideas that will grab people’s attention in a competitive market.
As well as being creative, you’ll also need to be able to think strategically to develop ideas that make good business sense and match your brand’s image.
It was only when I left uni that I realised there are actually loads of jobs that allow you to be creative that don’t involve designing!
Amber, EMERGE PR
3. Excellent Communication and Presentation Skills
“In public relations, you have to be able to talk to anyone and put yourself out there”, says Amy.
In order to build your strong professional network, you’ll need to have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. In the fast-paced world of fashion, you have to get your point across as quickly and clearly as possible.
“In the end what I’m looking for is communication skills. Good copy always gets you – that’s the power of words,” says Melvin Chua, who’s worked in PR for brands including Giorgio Armani, Burberry and Louis Vuitton in China. To be successful, you’ll need excellent writing skills, for crafting the perfect persuasive email or an impactful press release.
One of the most important parts of the PR role is your network, and your relationships with colleagues, clients and the media. So alongside your communication and teamwork skills, you’ll also need to be good at networking! As part of your job, it’s key to maintain good relationships with stylists, editors and social media managers across the industry.
You’ll also be working with many different people every day, so good teamwork and negotiation skills are absolutely vital.
Be good to people on the way up. Never be bad to people, you never know when you might need them again
5. Time management, multi-tasking and organisation skills
You’ll often have a lot of different tasks on your plate, so you’ll need to be organised with good time management. Every day you’ll have a lot going on; being an effective multi-tasker is absolutely vital. Being able to prioritise your jobs to meet various deadlines is also important.
6. Good under pressure
As a PR expert, you need to keep a cool head under pressure. You’ll need to be flexible and adaptable because things can (and will) go wrong! Strong problem-solving skills and the ability to think on your feet will also be very helpful in your career.
Another top tip from Amy: you have to be able to “remain very calm and polite in a difficult situation!”
Fashion PR Salary
The salary for fashion PR can vary depending on whether you work in house or for a PR agency. Typically you can expect to earn between £18,000 and £100,000.
- You’ll normally start off as a Public Relations Assistant, earning between £18,000 and £24,000 in a full-time role.
- After a few years, you can expect to rise to a Public Relations Officer or Coordinator. At this middle level, you should be earning between £25,000 and £40,000 a year - depending on your experience.
- With many years of experience, you can progress to senior management positions such as PR Director or Head of PR. At the highest level, you could be earning up to £100,000 a year.
How To Get Into Fashion PR?
Fashion PR is a highly competitive field, so it's important to have a strong CV to stand out in interviews. The market for PR specialists focused solely on fashion is growing quickly, so there are plenty of job opportunities available. These jobs are usually found in larger cities, including London, Manchester and Glasgow.
Having a qualification in a relevant field is almost essential for breaking into PR.
Here at the Fashion Retail Academy, we have a number of great courses that can help kickstart your career in fashion PR. Our Level 4 Digital Marketing diploma can set you up for a career in fashion PR in an increasingly digital world. Alternatively, our Level 4 Fashion Business (with Marketing) diploma covers all areas of fashion retail and includes modules on consumer behaviour and marketing.
Our BA (Hons) Marketing & Communications for Fashion degree is another fantastic choice. You’ll study a variety of marketing modules, including Promotions, PR and Communication where you’ll learn how to develop, communicate and manage a fashion brand’s image.
Internships and Work Experience
Practical experience working in an industry PR role is also extremely beneficial. You’ll learn first-hand how a PR office or agency works day-to-day, and you can show potential employers you’ll hit the ground running on your first day! “That’s what really helps you get a job,” explains Carla Filmer, global communications director at Manolo Blahnik.
At the Fashion Retail Academy, all our Level 4 and Undergraduate courses include an integrated industry placement programme. You’ll spend between 3 weeks and 3 months getting experience with one of our fashion retail and brand partners as part of your studies. Over 70% of our students said that their industry experience at the FRA gave them an advantage when applying for jobs!
Amber’s best piece of advice for getting into PR? “Say yes to every little opportunity, as you never know where it might take you. Even if you feel like you’re not quite experienced enough, just take it, run with it, and work it out along the way – you might surprise yourself at what you’re capable of.”
Think a role in fashion PR is right for you? Take the first step to your dream career and study with the Fashion Retail Academy.
Read our guide How To Get Started In The Fashion Industry for more information.
If you have any more questions about any of the courses on offer at the Fashion Retail Academy, send us an email at email@example.com. We’d love to hear from you!