uOPRA’s 12 Days of PR Bliss: When Fashion Meets PR

Written by: Shonge Sakupwanya
Edited by: Raechel Allen

Public relations, fashion, and passionate bloggers—these are a few of my favorite things. Fashion PR maintains the relationship between a brand and its multiple audiences. In today’s digital era, this now requires an ability to determine the right message, audience, and platform. It is not hard to argue that blogging has changed the way people communicate and spread ideas. Successful fashion PR bloggers understand the importance of a strong brand identity and the power of an engaged network. So if you are looking to break into the competitive world of Fashion PR, you better take notes. Here are some lessons to be learned, and my list of the Top Five Fashion PR blogs to follow.

5) On marketing yourself

Coming in at number five is Our Mode helmed by local fashion duo CJ and Catherine. This dynamic couple has managed to turn their everyday style into a successful blog that has drawn the attention of major retailers from Target to H&M. They were recently named Le Chateau’s favorite his/her blog.


4) On how to be versatile

At number four is TwentyYorkStreet by Marilou Moles. Government PR maven by day and blogger by night, Marilou has steadily developed 20YS to become Ottawa’s fashion go to blog and marketing platform for emerging talent, designers and photographers. Her work and ability to write for different markets has seen her partner with top leading brands such Thann Skincare, making her a sought after marketing specialist.


3) On how to succeed professionally

At number three we have Girl With A Banjo by Milan resident Yazmin Cabrera. This how to guide talks just about everything from how to dress the part of a fashion publicist to tricks of the trade. From its early days to now, Girl With a Banjo has built a loyal fan base across the world with Yazmin recently being listed in the Top 10 of women in PR to follow on Twitter.


2) On how to navigate the industry after college

At number two we have NycPrGirls by Adriana and Meg. Started in 2011, it details the experience of these twenty somethings as they try navigating the world of fashion and entertainment publicity in The Big City. NycPrGirls has received recognition from key media PR such as Ragan PR Daily.


And the haute spot goes to…

1) PR Couture by Crosby Noricks, for teaching you how to dominate your field Known as “a fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory” PR Couture is the juggernaut of fashion publicity blogs. Fashion publicists and brands alike rely on the site for innovative insights into public relations, marketing and social media as well as expert interviews, strategic counsel and job postings. It has been named one of 25 Essential PR Blogs by PR Web and ranks fourth on the top best public relations blogs in the world.


So there you have it PR junkies. Give these blogs a look. Hopefully they will you leave informed and better prepared to take on this thrilling industry.

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A Day in the Life of a PR Intern

Written by: Shongedzayi Sakupwanya


The words ‘Ottawa’ and ‘high fashion’ seemed incongruous to me, so you can imagine my surprise when I came upon an ad listing for volunteers to work at Ottawa Fashion Week. Intrigued, I went in to interview for an event volunteer position at the trendy Ottawa Festivals office downtown. Two hours later, I walked out as a PR intern! I was beyond excited and told anyone who would listen to my story.

Moonlighting as a retail sales associate by day and a PR Intern by night, I was tasked with doing minor write-ups; from designer profiles to press releases in the weeks leading up to the event. This was a prime opportunity to sharpen my writing skills! During Fashion Week, working in tandem with the Publicity Coordinator and the other PR interns, I was responsible for coordinating arriving VIPS, members of the press, and photographers in the media pit. As a PR intern, your role is to serve as a liaison between your client—in this instance, the liaison was Ottawa Fashion Week and the outside world. If there was a ruffled feather that night, our jobs were to smooth it over; and in a room full of over 600 people ranging from socialites, local celebrities to foreign dignitaries, we were always kept on our toes. As the weekend progressed, I learned quickly that the public relations industry requires thick skin, creativity, and exceptional interpersonal skills. For instance, in what was my wildest moment at Fashion Week, I misplaced over 600 dollars worth of photography equipment belonging to a guest photographer. My thoughts were a) how do I stall him while I look for it b) what happens if I don’t find it and c) where can I hide? In the end, I kept a cool head, found it without him ever realizing it was missing and made a friend out of him.

As the weekend rolled to a close in my post mortem of the event, I realized that for me some of the best parts of Fashion Week other than the dazzling runway shows, the glitz, and the high energy was the avenue it presented to network with larger than life personalities from all corners of the working world. I also had the privilege of getting to work with some of Ottawa’s most creative and eclectic people. I will, without question, be returning for a second season of Ottawa Fashion come next year—eager for what will be one heck of a weekend! Do yourself a favour; sign on for the invaluable experience that is Ottawa Fashion Week.

Follow our Facebook page and Twitter and keep your eyes peeled for volunteer applications in the next few weeks.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ottawafashionweek?ref=br_tf

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OFW_LIVE

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A Day in the Life of a Designer Coordinator

strut on the catwalk

What an exciting experience!  Ottawa Fashion Week (OFW) was such a positive opportunity; I still can’t realize it at the moment. Besides the craziness of it, I met the most incredible and interesting people at this event. The fact that I felt withdrawal before the weekend even ended shows how much I enjoyed it!

I first started to work for OFW in July 2013 as an Enrolment Executive.  Essentially, my job was to recruit designers for the fall through phone calls, emails, tweets, Facebook messages, and the like.  I was only suppose to work until the end of August, but my supervisors liked my enthusiasm that they asked me if was interested in filling another position.  ‘’Sure!’’ I said.  Through meetings I had heard of one position in particular that seemed perfect for me.   I asked my boss if I could be a designer coordinator.   And just like that, I got the job!  Later on, people who’ve been working for OFW for several seasons told me it was unusual for someone to get that kind of job on their first season, especially with no experience.  I admit I didn’t have the experience, but my instinct sure did help a lot, because I had no idea what I was getting into.

A designer coordinator is the principal link between the designer and OFW.  I’m in charge of collecting all the information from the designer (music, number of looks, models, etc.); helping with model casting (keep track of ‘’Maybe’’ models and ‘’Yes’’ models) and fittings; and coordinating rehearsals for the models and make sure the line-up is perfectly followed (line-up: models and looks in a specific order). To top it off,  I had to this for multiple designers!  It’s pretty crazy when I think about it now, but I love what I do there and when you’re passionate about something you tend to overlook the bad things, then you focus on the rest.

My first show was OK.  We had a moment that I like to recall as the ‘’sinking ship’’ moment.  The middle of the line-up got wrong because the clothes changes were too quick, and I was left with naked models to go on the runway.   Fortunately, it didn’t happen.  The designer was backstage and made a new line-up with what was left to go and the attendees loved it.   My second show, however, was perfect.  I only kidnapped 7 interns to be in charge of a specific model for a specific change.  Of course there were plenty of better moments, but the crazy ones tend to be engraved in a good way in your memory.

Although I can say that my summer job taught me a lot, you definitely need developed skills for this kind of job.  I think the most important characteristics are leadership and good instincts. To be a leader, you need to be aware of what’s going on through communication (you can’t overlook your emails and texts for a few minutes).  But then again, if you know what’s happening, you shouldn’t have any problems knowing what to do. When I say to be aware, it’s because there are a lot of changes in that industry.  What we said last week is like last year.

Volunteering! To be honest I think the gain is so worth the hard work.  Unlike a paycheck, the experience from OFW will follow me all my life.  I love fashion and I feel so privileged to be able to do something like it.  There is so much that I’ve learned about the industry that I didn’t know.  It is also a great way to network.  I’ve met a lot of important people from inside and outside the industry.   Also, because of this job I’m working on so many new projects now and I almost forget that I’m a student.

Overall, it was amazing being part of OFW’s 10th season.  My first season was filled with good laughs and new friends.  I will surely return next season, better prepared and knowing what to expect! If you are interested to volunteer with us, just follow our Facebook page and Twitter and keep an eye out for volunteer applications in the next few weeks.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ottawafashionweek?ref=br_tf

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OFW_LIVE

By: Julien Boissonnault

julien boissonault

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