Written by Lina Allen, Account Executive for PRSA Oregon.
You might think that public relations has no real purpose in fashion; before I started this blog I was somewhat skeptical myself. There was a time when I thought all that mattered in fashion was the design of the clothes. But in writing this blog I discovered that public relations is an essential part of the fashion industry. In fact, it is necessary across all industries in order for a company or organization to be successful. The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as, “A strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
For those who are unfamiliar with public relations, it can be considered the midpoint between marketing and communication. It is about communicating an organization’s message and presenting the company in its best light. At its core, it is about driving sales and profits; while also about generating positive awareness and engagement with the company. From just from this basic definition, you can see why public relations is critical to a company’s success. It is especially important in fashion, one of the most competitive and diverse industries.
The fashion industry today is very cutthroat, with new designers popping up every year. Fashion labels, and particularly those in high fashion ones, are doing their best to make clothing that stands out from the rest. Every year the clothes that come down the runway are more innovative, more eccentric, and more magnificent. In most cases, this has resulted in some very unique designs. There are only so many styles that can be created before designers must really start thinking out of the box. This trend of “bigger and better” (and weirder) grew from the amount of choices consumers have regarding where to shop. There are thousands of brands, ranging in prices and styles, and the sheer amount of them has made the fashion industry a competitive rat race.
This is where public relations comes in. For a fashion label, often times it can be the difference between success and failure. A brand must have a successful public relations campaign to spread the word about its new clothing styles. Public relations may actually be one of the most essential elements in the fashion industry, because fashion is constantly changing. New styles are released several times a year, which requires editorial efforts to announce them. The amount of media and hype surrounding fashion never diminishes. Without public relations, labels would not have a competitive edge and would be swallowed by the thousands of other available choices.
Public relations, if it is done successfully, reminds the public about the brand and where they should be shopping. It is one of the most important elements in fashion and will remain a timeless key to success across all industries.
Lina, a senior at the University of Oregon is triple majoring in public relations, German and international studies. After graduation, she aspires to work in fashion public relations in Europe. Lina Allen has engaged in public relations and marketing work for a nonprofit, a magazine and multiple organizations at the University of Oregon.