Having a fashion publicist is definitely worth the cost, but if you’re an emerging fashion designer, that may not be a business expense you can afford just yet. If you’re working with a zero budget for your PR campaign, don’t sweat. (Well, try not to.) Here are a few ways to get around that dilemma and pitch your fashion label on your own:
1. Do research on how to pitch effectively.
One of the biggest gripes that magazine editors have are weak pitches! If you’re going to go head-on with an editor, especially in fashion, have your pitch down to perfection as a PR professional would. Research what to say and what not to say. Know whom you are contacting by first name, last name, and title. Think of the “elevator pitch”. Can you introduce yourself and describe your company within 15 seconds? That’s how direct your pitch should be. List the basic who, what, where, why, when, and how in an easy, conversational tone, and conclude with an open-ended question about following up with you to send more information about your label.
2. Getting a follow-up and properly responding.
If you’re lucky, a fashion editor will get back to you in regards to featuring your collection in an upcoming issue. Be prepared for any requests that may be asked, i.e. designer bio, line sheets, lending agreements, or lookbook images. At this point, your lookbook or press kit should already be completed for your current collection, and make sure that it’s updated for every new season. Be swift in your responses to editors when they ask for things because they can easily move on to the next designer if you’re not keeping up with them. Remember, they have frantic deadlines and you’re considered to be on their time!
3. Sending your press release to the media.
A well-prepared press release can definitely alert the media of your new collection. Spend some time on PR distribution websites and study how the best ones are written. Follow the standard model of a press release and formulate a few paragraphs about the new release of your collection and about you as the designer. Set up a free account with press release distribution sites and schedule your releases to be sent out to the local media. You can also e-mail and fax your press release directly to news stations and newspapers (they’re always looking for local stories to cover). Who knows – what if you’re called in to be featured in a morning news segment? That’s definitely a good look for your press portfolio.
4. Invite the media to your launch party.
If you plan on celebrating the launch of your new collection, you’re responsible for securing the venue, setting up the event, and sending out media invites. It’s best to send formal invites to editors through the mail at least 3-4 weeks in advance so that gives them the opportunity to pencil you in their schedule. Fashion bloggers are also great to invite, of course. Event photos, blog write-ups, and Twitter mentions from different bloggers means more publicity for your fashion line, which you need in order to attract more customers. Make sure to save your press clips and send thank-yous to anyone doing coverage of your event.
5. Make friends with fashion stylists.
Another way to possibly have your fashion line featured in a magazine is to have a stylist hook-up. They’re always pulling clothes for photo shoots and looking for hot, new designers to work with. Get acquainted with some fashion stylists in your area by using social media and going to different fashion events in your city. It’s also good to know a lot of photographers, models, and makeup artists who can probably help get your collection used in an editorial photo shoot.
There’s so much work that goes into handling the PR side of a fashion label that more than likely should be handled by a pro. Once your label starts becoming increasingly profitable, hiring a good PR team to help you market your brand would be the best way to go. While it’s in your hands for now, do tons of research on the job of a fashion publicist and implement some of those ideas into your own marketing campaign.