What do PRs do at Fashion Week?

Growing up, I followed fashion closely, maybe that’s why I ended up working in PR in luxury fashion. What really did happen at Fashion Week? I always wondered. If you grew up in India – ‘Lakme Fashion Week’ comes to mind. But this wasn’t just that – this was the real leagues; I’m talking Paris Fashion Week. A dream come true? I would think so!

Taking you through the before, during and after of show – I’m here to tell you what I really do at a show in Fashion Week.

Before the show:

Our preparations easily begin a month and a half before the actual show. We look after the market we represent – so we start collecting names and details of people traveling to Fashion Week. Our lists are extensive – we ask our usual suspects and others. Obviously, not everyone gets a seat or an invite – but for our information – we keep building the list.

Now, most international brands work this way: the first day is the show and the second day is the resee. The ‘Re-see’ is like a presentation of what was presented at the show and everything else that will be launching next season.

The seat allocation for the show mostly comes about 10 days before the actual show – and the number of seats depend on the brand’s presence in the market. There’s three rows – and usually who we put on the second row is where most of our trouble begins with the egos. It’s critical and crucial to not bruise anyone’s ego – yet get most out of the deliverables.

Since most shows now offer live streaming – we pitch and secure key titles – think Vogue, Harper’s, and more – to live stream the show on the day of.

Relentless followups, receiving of angry (influencer) managers, getting them dressed in the brand for the show and all of that after – we get to the actual show. Yes, at a show, it is quite important that the influencer be dressed in the brand – and trust me most of the time I spend hours trying to get looks decided, or fittings booked and then getting them picked up from the hotels.

At the show:

Say a show starts at 9.30 AM, do you know what our reporting time ideally is? 6 AM. The setups are really massive, so we look for our seats, make sure they have name cards and the minute that is done, we (translation: me) are like kids in a candy store. There are models getting ready and practicing the runway walk, there’s people running around with those big headphones like in movies, there’s camera people setting up, and other PRs – like me- wandering around with twinkle in their eyes. There’s a beautiful breakfast set up of my favourite 3 Cs- cake, croissant and coffee. All the while, we watch everything slowly come to life just before the show.

Before the show starts, we go near the doors and look for our guests – media and influencers to take them to their seats. And within minute the show begins. I huddled behind the camera crews, with other global PRs and marketing teams – I will tell you this – it sucks to be a short girl – all my videos from the show of are of the back of people’s heads and the non-stop clicks of the camera. But, that music, the ambience, the clicking of cameras, and that the murmurs of ‘wow’ – warm my Fashion PR soul.

Just as the show finishes, I rush to my guests to make small talk about the show and ask how they liked the new collection. Obviously, since I saw the back of people’s heads – I saw through the many IG lives that were happening while I was huddled behind the sea of heads and photographers. I make sure the media knows I’m sending the assets of the show shortly and that the influencers took content for permanent posts, and after that – head to the hotel.

After the show:

It doesn’t end at the show – we wait for the brand to send the assets, releases, runway images, exclusive backstage images, first row (FROW) guest images and more to secure coverage. Then there’s a detailed post-event report that is submitted after the Resees – compiling all the coverage we secured for the said show & resees.

Me –whizzing back to the hotel in my little scooter below after the LOEWE Spring Summer 2020 show in September 2019.

Author: Swati Jain

I am the girl who can talk and talk and talk and talk and still continue to talk. The most ideal way to make me heard is to share it with everyone else. I'm not new at this, but I hope to be in a uninterrupted continuation of posting what's on my mind! I hope you enjoy!

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