Reconsider Fashion PR

By: Guest | August 9, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Crosby Noricks.

The fashion PR industry has a pretty interesting story to tell if you can look beyond the Avant-Garde (unwearable) runway creations to the clusters of people backstage, dressed in black, with clipboards, walkie-talkies, and this season’s must-have manicure.

The issue lies in the disconnect between what students are being taught, and where they want to apply their skills.

To the point, the industry is doing innovative things with content, social media, blogging, and more.

While not a complete list, following are six things happening in the industry right now.

  1. Mercedes Benz Fashion Week brings in more than $40 million to New York each year.
  2. Fashion brands such as Burberry (who recently celebrated 10 million Facebook likes) are becoming storytellers in their own right, producing some of the most innovative and effective digital campaigns reaching a multitude of audiences, such as Art of The Trench.
  3. To stay relevant, fashion publications are evolving as well. Lucky released a Spotify playlist and has moved into the daily deal space. Vogue produces digital-only editorial content. They provide opportunities for readers to get closer to the action, such as live streaming the Met Gala and taking reader questions.
  4. Fashion blogging is mega-business. Refinery29, a localized, fashion, beauty, and shopping blog is estimated to be worth $20 million after six years in business.
  5. Mega-publicist Kelly Cutrone has embraced authorship and reality TV, dispensing her now-signature blend of career advice, spiritual healing, and eff-you attitude to the millennial MTV generation.
  6. Aliza Licht’s evolution from the Twitter handle @DKNYPRGirl to simply @DKNY, not to mention 385K Twitter followers demonstrates the PR department can become as much a beacon of the brand as the brand itself.

However, pick up any PR textbook and browse through the case studies, examples, and expert quotes and what are you likely to find? You’ll see the majority of content to cover corporate campaigns specific to a handful of verticals, namely healthcare, technology, and automotive.

The same is true for PR journals and often, trade publications. It’s an unfortunate situation because, for better or worse, there is a consistent interest among today’s current crop of communications undergraduates to pursue public relations careers in distinctly different industries such as entertainment, sports, lifestyle, and fashion.

In the five years since launching PR Couture, I have received countless emails from frustrated, uninspired students who have had little opportunity to put what they are learning in class toward projects and companies they care about.

If you’re hungry for more on the fashion PR industry, add these five additional sites to your reading list.

  1. Women’s Wear Daily – the fashion industry trade du-jour.
  2. Fashionista –  consumer-friendly fashion news with an industry spin.
  3. Fashionably Marketing Me – a treasure trove of fashion marketing campaign examples and tech trends.
  4. DKNY PR Blog – If nothing else, you’ll get a kick out of Aliza’s amazing PR 101 posts. We’ve all been there.
  5. The High Low – Backed by Liz Claiborne, this industry blog covers retail trends with a focus on e-commerce.

While certainly some are dazzled by the allure of free swag, partying with celebrities, and jet-setting from one fashion week to another, still many more have a true passion, respect, and love for the fashion industry, and want to be a part of it.

By assuming such a narrow definition of what PR is, where it happens, and who the people are doing it, we do undergraduates a disservice.

I’d love to hear from you – agree? disagree?

Crosby Noricks is the founder of PR Couture, a blog that explores public relations, marketing, and social media in the fashion industry. She also is director of social media for Red Door Interactive. And she is author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR.  She enjoys taking the train, listening to the Vicky Christina Barcelona soundtrack and pretending she is in Europe instead of Southern California, which she did while writing this article. You can get in touch with Crosby on Twitter at PR_Couture or via email

  • I couldnt agree more! I am a PR/Communications student that has recently taken to fashion blogging and I love it! I think these two industries (both of my passions) should definitely be merged. I think that many PR/Communications are striving to gain credibility and although they may love fashion, feel that it doesn’t offer the credibility that the corporate world does. I think that those are untrue stereotypes, some of the most amazing business woman (and people!) are in the fashion industry. Kelly Cutrone, as you mentioned, Jeanne Beker, and many more! Kudos to you for challenging the stereotype and combining my two passions together! 
    -Darcy Boucher 

    • PR_Couture

       @darcyboucher Thanks Darcy – that’s exactly how I feel!

  • MarianaByDesign

    Thanks Crosby! Your articles and website have been an essential tool for me in marketing and PR!

    • PR_Couture

       @MarianaByDesign Thanks Mariana!

  • Crosby, it’s interesting to see the same things happening in PR that happened over the last 20 years in advertising. Maybe it’s just a generational thing? I’m not a PR guy, so for me especially, that’s a really informative post. 

    • PR_Couture

       @barrettrossie Thanks for reading – yup I agree that much of these could be seen as general communication challenges – traditional PR especially has had to struggle to figure out how to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world. Fashion was a bit slower to the table, but now it’s a segment with some truly innovative things happening!

  • Hey Crosby! Thanks for the blog post!
    I was just doing my morning reading and came across this article about NY Magazine launching a new responsive design fashion pub. Thought you’d like it:

  • SashaKane

    #FF These Kool Peeps Quick! @lizscherer @nwjerseyliz @noahnana @Shauna_Shines @ShebaJo @shashib @chemobrainfog @Seaglass67 @ShiCooks

    • Shauna_Shines

      @SashaKane @lizscherer @nwjerseyliz @noahnana @ShebaJo @shashib @chemobrainfog @Seaglass67 @ShiCooks <<< GR8 peeps Follow anyday!

      • chemobrainfog

        @shauna_shines Thank U and gr8 weekend

    • noahnana

      @SashaKane @lizscherer @nwjerseyliz @Shauna_Shines @ShebaJo @shashib @chemobrainfog @Seaglass67 @ShiCooks Good morning wonderful ladies

    • lizscherer

      @SashaKane You are divine. I am sorry that I missed you this morning. xo

      • SashaKane

        Have mentioned you other weeks as a great follow but like a nunnery I didn’t spell your last name right. (chemo fog) Be well! @lizscherer

  • cmn

    @PR_Couture @SpinSucks Excellent points, and a great resource list for students. Loved the piece!

    • PR_Couture

      @cmn @spinsucks thank you!

  • ginidietrich

    @Steveology Something about you tweeting about fashion PR makes me giggle.

    • Steveology

      @ginidietrich The best part? I tweeted it while wearing a tutu.

      • ginidietrich

        @Steveology Of course you did!