A passion for online fashion


This is an article by Rebecca Hardisty.
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Fashion has always been a passion of mine. Adoringly consuming the glossy pages of Elle UK has become a monthly ritual that I look forward to from the moment I finish the latest edition.

Rebecca Hardisty: initially unsure about PR

Unlike fashion, I didn’t know I would fall in love with PR; I didn’t even know what it was until I became a prospective student at the University of Gloucestershire.

It was not until my third year of university, when an unlikely turn of events brought my two passions together when I went to work at We Are Social, a London based ‘conversation agency’ for 6 months as part of the Fashion and Lifestyle team.

I was relatively new to social media at the start of my placement year, but after the three months internship prior to starting at We Are Social, I had the understanding and the enthusiasm to know it was where I wanted to be. It was never the stereotypical fashion PR role people think of, but I loved it.

I didn’t deal with designers or talk to fashion press, nor did it have the bitchy office atmosphere. But I did get to live, breath, read and write blogs about fashion. One of my fondest memories of my work experience was getting to go to London Fashion Week.

Social media has breathed new life into the fashion industry and I feel lucky that I was able to be a part of it for a short time.

Fashion bloggers have become online celebrities for their beautiful photography, ‘Outfits of the Day’ and individual writing styles. It is the rich content that keeps their readers coming back for more, which is what makes a successful blog – influence through a specialised readership.

This new kind of celebrity has taken them behind the scenes, onto the red carpets of high profile fashion events and amongst the fashion fabulous at fashion weeks. They’ve inspired their readers and the brands.

Many fashion brands have realised the potential opportunities that blogger outreach can bring, with many global brands already incorporating this into their social media marketing strategies.

One of my favourite campaigns was Lanvin for H&M. The French fashion house created a collection for the high street favourite and invited bloggers to be some of the first to get their hands on their coveted pieces.

Arguably the biggest fashion blog, Style Bubble, is run by Susanna Lau, who has made a career out of blogging. Her blog, started in 2006, now draws in over 300,000 visitors.

Like with celebrities, having products featured on influential blogs is golden. It’s better than advertising and certainly cheaper. Just look at the success Reiss has had because of Kate Middleton after she was featured twice wearing two of their dresses – the famous blue engagement dress and the bandage dress she wore to meet President Obama and the First Lady.

Both times, the Reiss website crashed due to the high level of traffic to the site.  Imagine the power of a blog with a readership of over 100,000 visitors, who all see their favourite blogger wearing a chosen piece. They are all likely to want to go out and find that item, and most bloggers will usually tell you where it is from.

Brands have certainly cottoned on to this and often send products to bloggers to test and post about.

What all brands need to understand is that bloggers are real people and they are not all the same, there are many different types of fashion blog and blogger. Knowing this is fundamental when outreaching to bloggers.

Bloggers are passionate about what they write about and they want to share that passion. The more original content they have, the more influential they become. If you enable them to blog about something that they and their readers will find of interest, they are likely to respond well.

Through this medium, many bloggers become brand advocates. Like all good PR practitioners know, the aim is to build good relationships and this is true in blog communications.

Yet with the free speech that the internet gives us, it is very easy for bloggers to bad mouth you if you upset them –  and they often will!

I would say to anyone that work experience is invaluable, but it can always be thoroughly enjoyable too. Internships are too commonly highlighted negatively for being unpaid and unfair. Whilst this is an issue in the public relations industry, properly structured and fair internships can provide a way forward.

It is hard to get work without experience but internships give students the chance to shine. If anyone knows, it is me; I had three in one year! Finding a job you love is for many people, a lifelong ambition. Internships give you the opportunity to find what you love, learn along the way and have a little fun.

Comments

  1. If the the Reiss website crashed due to the high level of traffic to the site, is this a PR issue.

    I content that it is and that the PR professional should be giving the website manager sheer hell for hurting the reputation of the company.

    Is Reiss so incompetent. Would you trust it? Are they being real at a time when online consumerism is growing at 20% and high street retailing is in the low single figures?

    Once is bad, twice is unacceptable.

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