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PR and Fashion Trends: The Perfect Pair

Published on March 5, 2021, at 6:15 p.m. 
by Caroline Robinson.

Have you ever wondered where some of our fashion trends come from? One day you’re wearing baggy jeans and an oversized corduroy button-up, then the next day, those clothing items are not “in” anymore.

The public relations industry greatly influences fashion trends and vice versa. Fashion PR agencies focus on getting earned media placements through the promotion of brands. This earned media coverage can include broadcast, print and online media channels.

This past year has introduced a whole new look in the fashion industry. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines encouraged people to stay home and socially distant for the majority of 2020, people began dressing differently in light of the pandemic. A new emphasis on comfort and athleisure has risen, corresponding with people spending more time at home due to online job operations and events.

Photo by rocknwool on Unsplash

Brands are forced to keep up with the socioeconomic environment to stay relevant and adhere to customers’ greatest fashion desires. According to TheTrendSpotter, some of today’s fashion trends reflect influential decades in the past. Recently, nostalgic ’80s streetwear, such as oversized shoulder pads, have made a comeback, and public relations may be just the reason why.

Samantha Gale, the manager of public relations at Cartier, was brought on “to focus on press and digital influencers for women’s collections, boutique transformations (openings or renovations) and brand image events.” Gale believes that any communication — whether press coverage, advertising or celebrity/influencer endorsements — is the driving force behind the fashion trends we encounter in our day-to-day lives. Gale explained that people are paying attention to the media now more than ever, and the “common thread [is] to create memorable moments and, when looking at the approach to communications, it usually comes back to creating an authentic dialogue that unites heritage and modernity.” She emphasized that the connection between the fashion industry and its consumers is two-sided.

Instagram influencer marketing is a $1.7 billion industry, and the platform shows no sign of slowing down. In recent years, fashion designers and brands have partnered with accounts that have large followings on social media. The influencers are rewarded with gifts or monetary benefits when they market specific products.

Amy Jackson is an active fashion influencer on Instagram. She has over 700,000 followers and actively posts outfits, blogs and links to purchase the products. She receives various clothing stores’ endorsements to support her chic and trendy closet full of neutral colors and athleisure items. Jackson uses public relations tools to her advantage on Instagram by linking each piece of clothing to its store and marketing her online blog, which gives deeper insight on her thoughts about fashion trends.

Public relations as an industry can write a narrative for and position a brand to consumers. Therefore, a closer look at public relations strategies and earned media shows exactly how agencies can set brands apart from their competitors.

Photo by STIL on Unsplash

Brian Taylor, senior instructor of clothing, textiles and interior design at The University of Alabama, gave his insider knowledge of the relationship between public relations and fashion trends. Taylor’s first job following his undergraduate degree was with a PR firm that produced fashion shows for New York Fashion Week.

“Each show was an incredible amount of preparation, so this taught me great organizational and communication skills. It made me appreciate and understand what a public relations team contributes to a fashion brand,” Taylor said.

He added, “A brand’s PR team can help a brand stay relevant, transparent, genuine and inclusive.” Taylor explained that this brand impact can be seen through “the detail-oriented nature of public relations that went into planning events, including front of house and back stage — guest lists, guest relations, guest seating, promotion, managing media relations, models, hair/makeup, music, after-party events and all technical production needs.” It is important to stay on track with your goals, objectives, strategies and tactics to remain focused and portray the message the fashion brand would like to display.

The role of public relations has the power to move trends forward or set them back from others that emerge. What trend is coming next, you ask? That has everything to do with public relations.

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