Published on April 19, 2021 at 4:12 p.m.
by Olivia Cooley.
The fashion industry is much more than the glitz and glam, red carpet outfits and fashion shows hosted in New York City. Over the years, fashion has influenced the world whether it is obvious or not. This industry has grown immensely and is responsible for most trends, behaviors and attitudes toward popular clothing items. The perception of what is “in style” or “the latest trend” is continuously evolving, and this industry is the main reason for that.
The expertise, strategy and public relations that take place behind the scenes often go unnoticed, and without that industry focus, fashion brands would not be where they are today. The detailed process of creating new trends while targeting a diverse audience is only one way the fashion industry utilizes public relations as one of its gateways to success.
Diving head first into the industry can be intimidating and a lot to take in at one time, so knowing what goes on behind the scenes and which steps to take in navigating a fashion career is important in achieving that specific goal.
Caterina Ranzino, manager of Hemline Highland Road in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Madison Doody, bridal showroom manager for Show Me Your Mumu in Los Angeles, California, discuss the inner-workings of the fashion industry and offer insight to those looking to get involved in the fashion world.
Find your passion
When getting started in the industry, finding that passion for communication, social media and all things fashion is the number one priority. Knowing one’s purpose in the industry will produce better results and strengthen relationships with all audiences.
“My passion for the fashion industry grows every day as I learn the ins and outs of working, not only in a small local boutique, but for a brand that people know, recognize and love,” Ranzino said. “I became energized by working hands-on with people and started creating relationships with customers. Over time, I realized just how much goes into running a boutique and how incredibly big the fashion world is.”
Doody found her passion through an internship that led to her love of the fashion industry. “I have always valued my relationships and friendships with people, so this part of the role I am in comes naturally to me. My job within the fashion industry allows me to combine fashion and working with people all in one,” she said.
When it comes to fashion public relations, audience engagement is vital for gaining loyal customers and encouraging brand growth. Fashion PR professionals assist brands in promoting the clothing and the reason why the customer should wear the clothing. Without a strong internal brand, marketing campaigns and social media strategy would be difficult to execute effectively for a fashion brand’s ideal audience.
Ranzino explained that marketing and public relations go hand in hand when establishing retail brands. Research, strategy and being proactive are a few of the most important actions fashion PR professionals should take.
“Fashion, public relations and marketing are constantly changing, and for two industries that are consistently growing, it can be a great opportunity to grow together. Trend and customer forecasting is extremely important and something that should be monitored as much as possible,” said Ranzino. “This research is what should be used to create a strategy that will exhibit exactly what clients are looking for and what is going to work well in the market.”
Doody had similar thoughts, stating that “having a strong strategy correlates with engagement rate and sales. You have to stay relevant with your audience and have to continue to deliver content they are interested in.”
Doody explained that a fashion brand provides a significant first impression to any person who visits the brand’s site, store or social media platform.
Strong social media strategy and public relations play a huge role in obtaining a positive first impression for any fashion brand. Having a fresh and interactive platform will boost audience engagement and attract new potential customers.
Ranzino said, “You have about 10 seconds or less to engage a potential client to keep looking at your page or scroll to the next. Those few seconds could cost you a future long-time returning customer if you don’t make a great first impression.”
Never too early
When asked the biggest piece of advice to those looking to get involved in the fashion industry, both fashion experts explained that experience and a strong work ethic are vital to survive in this field. Working your way up from the bottom to the top is normal and a great way to navigate the fashion world.
Ranzino explained that internships are an effective way to find that specific niche of fashion one would want to pursue.
“Starting internships in college or right after graduation allows you to temporally be a part of a brand and lets you engage in different sides of the industry,” said Ranzino. “Even if you don’t end up working for that exact company, your experience will come a long way.”
Doody gave another perspective, saying, “Start building your résumé as soon as you can, and think about which current opportunities can prepare you for a career after college. You will stand out by taking initiative, following up and working hard.”
All in all, the fashion world requires a combination of strong public relations and a passion for fast-paced environments. Together, the process of creating new trends and reaching new audiences can be achieved. As noted by Ranzino, “A passion for this industry and an incredibly hard work ethic will produce endless possibilities, so always reach for bigger and better.”