How is the PR team at Loewe structured?
My boss is the PR manager, and then there’s me, and I have an assistant, so it’s just the 3 of us since we only handle the French market.
The headquarters are in Madrid, and they handle Spain, Germany, digital, and international. Then AIPR handles us for London, Karla Otto in Milan, then in NY it’s PRC. We also have an office in Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong, so we’re in-house for most of our Asian markets.
What’s your day to day?
I handle most requests, which means a stylist or their assistant will request looks and say the location, magazine, and photographer that their shooting with and then I see if we can make it work. The challenge is that all of the markets only share one collection, so we have to coordinate with that. I also tell the press about Loewe’s news to manage how the brand is shown in the media.
So how do you make sure that the looks are available for the most important magazines?
It all just comes down to communication, and we all really try to help each other out. We have an amazing international coordinator based in Madrid.
Do you all use Fashion GPS?
We're about to. I know it’s going to help out my assistant 200%.
What was your biggest accomplishment?
I think my biggest accomplishment here was when we were at the office and received a text, saying “Congratulations on Vogue Paris!!” and I was like, “wait, what?” So I quickly scrolled my Instagram and there it was, Loewe was on the Vogue Paris cover
! Major !!!! And I thought: Wow. I made it, we made it.
How does your role expand during high season?
For the show, we have to do all the guest lists, but I think the most complicated thing is the seating. We spend a lot of time on it. For instance, Loewe has individual seats which means we need to be very focus on not missing anybody, following the number of seats the venue allows. So it’s like "Okay, the Asian market needs to be here, the American press has to be here, the American buyers need to be there. So no, the model's going to come like this, but no this person works for accessories so we have to put her at an angle so she can see all the bags.” Then it’s all about creating a coherent seating. So, ah, it's crazy!
Then it’s working with the show production company, for all the seating requirements, the guest list for photographers, organizing the backstage and makeup artists, the models, etc. Just making sure all flows well. Yeah, and our time slot is normally in the morning which means no sleep because the day before you’re working until 12 AM at least. Then you have to be at the venue at 3 AM so you maybe get 45 minutes of rest and you don’t get out of the office until late the next day either. But even though it brings a lot of stress, we’re having a lot of fun. The best moment is actually when everything is about to happen.
What does the work after the show entail?
So right after, the collection goes back to the office and we set up the showroom for press. It’s for people who were not able to see the collection, or want to see it again. In this way, they can see the looks. But at the same time, you have shoppings to send out because the rest of the work load doesn’t stop just because it’s high season. So you do your usual work too, send pictures to press, and all the relevant information about the show. Then go to the restaurant to party. It's exhausting, but it's great.
So then the CFDA?
I was the social media/pr intern. My responsibilities included assisting in posting to various social media handles, helping with social media during fashion week and working closely with Director of Editorial and Communications, Communications Coordinator as well as the Digital Media Manager.
Why did you choose this position?
I’ve always been interested in the CFDA as a company and the work they do such as the CFDA awards and the CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund. I also hadn’t done a PR or Social Media position before so it was a good combination for me at that time.
What did you learn from it?
The internship allowed me to dabble in a bunch of areas. I was in charge of the CFDA tumblr, which I loved doing, and this task allowed me to work on my photoshop skills and curate content. I also helped in posting on all of the social media outlets in general, and for that I got to work backstage during NYFW and NYFW: Men’s to take photos. This was the first internship that gave me the ability to use my photography background which I really enjoyed. I learned how huge events such as NYFW: Men’s are executed from start to finish, and understood just how much thought goes into social media, and how much of an impact it has on fashion today.
Then you went on to DVF. What did you learn from that experience?
I learned about how much hard work goes into the fashion industry. I think that being my first internship, I had a kind of idealistic view of fashion and seeing it as so glamorous. But then actually, especially PR there's so much work that goes into communicating your brand to the public and being such a popular brand as DVF. I was doing a lot of grunt work but it taught me dedication.
What was your role?
At DVF I was helping the PR rep pull clothing for different photo-shoots or editorial stories that would be in different magazines. I also sifted through magazines that we were mentioned in and tagging that as well. Diane did her first Google Hangout event while I was there. I met Diane personally and she remembered me. So it was amazing.
Then I helped with a pop-up shop in their store downstairs (the corporate office is above), so I was working that event as well and I met a lot of industry professionals, which was really cool.
So then you went on to intern for the PR team at Ralph Lauren womenswear. Can you explain that role?
A lot of it was showroom organization, sample trafficking, and helping facilitate press pulls.
You have to learn about strategic scheduling kind of like "Okay, Vogue is late in returning this sample and we need to get in to W Magazine now. What are we going to do?"
My favorite part, was when a new issue would come out and you would see a sample that you put there and you're like, "Hey, I did that. I helped with that."
It's just interesting to see my supervisors throughout the years have relationships with the editors and everybody's interconnected and I really like that. You get to talk to people from all these different publications and I love that social factor of the job.
What are some of the PR responsibilities going into making a fashion show happen?
Sending out invites, creating a guest list, then creating a seating plan, managing RSVPs, etc. Then also press book so when looks go down a runway, you basically have a handout that's left on every seat that everybody in the show is able to access that list, okay, Look 1, and they have a description of the look. This is really good for buyers. It's really good for people who are looking to wear something to a red-carpet event, just to say, "Hey, I really liked Look 7, this item. I want to get this in my store," or "I want to wear that on the red carpet."
If you're going to have Jessica Chastain come to your show for the celebrity team, for example, you have to be organized and make sure somebody is there to greet her at the back door, somebody's there to lead her over to her seat, and then escort her out after. For my first show, we had Kanye come and he came through the back door and it was just hilarious. He had a little photo shoot with Ralph and was talking to people but the celebrity team has to manage that.
It's basically making it happen so looking over, "Okay, are the press packs distributed?" After the show leaves, we have 50 minutes till the next show.
We had different shows specifically. One was specifically for buyers. One was specifically for international crowds ...
... and one was specifically for the family, any celebrities, and then just American buyers.
Does Ralph Lauren do its entire PR in-house?
Ralph Lauren's a huge corporation so we have it all in-house so there's different teams. We have a women's wear team, men's wear team, kids team, and a celebrity team, and basically it's all done in the company on one floor, everybody works together.
Everything that Ralph Lauren puts out into the media is administered by somebody who works directly within the Ralph Lauren corporation but if you decide to outsource that to a PR company like PRC or KCD, that basically means that that company takes some of the responsibility off of the PR work and sample trafficking and fashion show production off of your shoulders and you might have a couple PR workers in your team in-house but the bulk of the work would be done by that company that you're outsourcing to. It’s for smaller companies normally.
Are there benefits to in-house PR?
Yeah, just because everybody's more integrated. I feel as though there's more communication amongst the teams and with Ralph Lauren as well, executives and all. I just feel it's very wholesome and you have every control over every detail. You are able to communicate strategies from corporate or executives with your PR team and make changes quick. If you want to change up the way you archive credits for example, you have a database of that in-house and you can change it in-house. I think it also promotes a lot of collaboration.
There's just more flexibility and more say in what you can do but, however, my knowledge is limited since I've only ever been at a in-house company. Louis Vuitton is also in-house for the North America division but obviously there's another in-house division in Paris, the headquarters.
Now you're also at Louis Vuitton?
Yes. The public relations seasonal is another title for the public relations intern, but they consider it more of a freelancing position in the company rather than the title intern.
Is it paid?
Look at you.
Essentially, I was just expanding on that love of PR that I have. I am in charge of sample trafficking again, showroom management. They're really particular about organization and bar codes and keeping everything in order. Everything is very meticulous.
What's really cool is that my supervisors recently let me start emailing with editors, I've been able to step in and get a feel for what it's like to take responsibility for an editor's request. Recently, we had stuff for Mother's Day like, "We're looking for gifting items for Mother's Day shopping feature in our whatever issue." What that entails is going through your showroom, looking for samples that match, making sure they're not already reserved to go out, taking photos, sending them in, and then, from there, they'll make a request.
Fashion GPS is a software that we use in fashion PR and basically it organizes your life. It organizes every sample. It keeps track of everything that you send out, to which editor. It's a library and you create notes on, which basically puts items out on loan to this person, whoever at whichever magazine. You can track when stuff goes out, when to expect it back in. When you do get it back in, you return it into the system and then it'll say, "Okay, it's here." Gives you peace of mind and organizes your sanity if you're in a fashion PR spot. I know editorials choose to do it manually rather than the program.