The fashion glitterati descend on the capital every year to display their latest collections, dictating the trends for the upcoming season. For many British fashion editors, aspiring designers and passionate students, London Fashion Week is the one date in their diaries they dare not miss.
The vast amount of publicity generated is mind-staggering and designers are no longer the only ones aware of how good a platform the occasion is to showcase themselves. With such an increase in interest from all consumer sectors, PR consultants have become high in demand and are able to play a dominant part in shaping the perception of the events to the general public.
The spark that makes the week edgy and achingly cool is still there, whether it be the incredible pool of talent or the degree of innovation that is constantly produced. But the predictability of the hype has grown tiresome.
Sensing the novelty disappear, public relations agencies have reacted swiftly and are succeeding in turning the situation around. Creative thinking and a healthy dose of media saviness are paving new ways of creating buzz. PR experts specialising in several areas of consumerism have spotted the publicity machine that is London Fashion Week.
Targeting all consumer groups and obtaining the best coverage for the client is a must for all PR consultancies. In order to achieve this, branching out and thinking outside of the box can bring in a whole new spectrum of opportunities on which to build effective public relations.
In addition to print press producing bumper issues and special editions, make up, beauty and hair product brands are being placed backstage at shows. Food and drink companies are being advised to cater to those working behind the scenes and at many of the after parties.
Trendy London bars are creating one-off cocktails, restaurants are creating special menus (Fashion Fuel Menu at Buddha Bar) and well known high street stores are holding free in-store events for customers (free cupcakes from supermodel Lorraine Pascale’s Bakery at Topshop, Oxford Circus). Celebrities partying at the after shows, getting photographed wearing a designer or walking the runway are a sure guarantee to securing huge publicity.
Publicity agents are moving with the times and taking advantage of cutting edge technologies in digital media to reach out to a larger and more diverse audience. Designers such as Jaeger and PPQ are now live-streaming their shows online and Burberry Prorsom are setting theirs to be seen in 3D. New media is proving to be surprisingly valuable too with Apple creating ‘Trendtracker’ applications for its massively popular iPhone range.
It is not rare for there to be some form of debate around or during fashion week. Last year saw designers being criticized by health professionals for using skinny models whilst others were revered for going against the grain and dressing size 12 to 14 models. Whichever way the balance sways, crisis PR experts have to be in place to deal with the fallout and resolve the situation quickly.