This is where Fashion and Public Relations get married; Fashion needs people’s eyes, and then their other senses while Public Relations brings them all together. Public Relations ensures that the Fashion professional appeals to the public (publics), satisfies them, attracts them and both parties gain from the relationship formed. A good PR manager will also help the two parties maintain a beneficial relationship going forward. This was how Pierre Rougier worked for Calvin Klein and other fashion businesses behind the scenes, generating a lot of resounding results for these brands.

fashion public relations
Photo by Vision Perspective

It is important to know that an advertising agency will not offer your business what the PR will do. With one, you pay heavily to get seen quickly; with the other, you pay less and take time to build a relationship of trust with your various publics. Advertising is the costlier one, PR is the later one. And these days, the relationship is what keeps the business, not the sale.


Any other communications professional will design your logo and brand elements to his/her taste or to your taste, not the PR Manager. In designing your brand, he will consider many more biases; like how will your principal influencers see this brand; potential buyers, investors, potential staff, the Government and other key influencers of your business and industry? To him, your brand is not just the graphic designs and photography associated with your image, but also such invisible elements like how you treat missed calls, when you deliver on jobs, how you handle customers’ fabric and more.  These all affect how your business is perceived by the people you need to stay in business.
A PR rep will strive to keep the promotion consistent, never sending out mixed messages. For example if your company's fashion line is geared towards women fashion you want to create female styled events that will attract the required customer.


It is the PR pro that will make the media run after you; that’s his specialty. Your fashion business needs to have a relationship with several categories of media; print, broadcast, online, direct etc. Many print media organizations have a column for fashion; TV producers have a celebrity fashion segment; radio programmes talk about fashion shows and fads. Most if not all of the major media players in these categories have their Internet and Social Media platforms just to push these content on. Feel free to hire a journalist and then a blogger, a social media marketer, a graphic artiste, a photographer, a cinematographer, in-house events manager at monthly pay of N50,000 for each (N350,000) – or just get a great PR firm to handle all their functions for N100,000 monthly.


Too many fashion creation businesses have too many complaints bordering on order delivery; the online ones as well as the brick and mortar store. In Nigeria, the case of taking more jobs than could get done or simply laziness to work leads to this popular complaint. Hand over the entire value chain, from taking orders to after-sale to a great fashion PR manager. He will not make the clothing, but will work to prevent complaints, and when there is one, he will take control of the situation to minimize or eliminate further crisis. This is why it is an aberration to consider Public Relations as a conduit pipe through which you send out media content – you will sack the PR manager soon and your image will not work as should.  


That fashion business is surrounded by a number of important audiences to engage with. Do not forget your competition and even the Government of your area among your compulsory audiences. A good fashion PR manager knows what communications will keep you safe with competition, what to communicate to the tax agencies, how to communicate with staff, with investors and creditors, with buyers and all.
Hand over the communications channels of your fashion business to the pros. You will know when Government policies are being formulated that can affect you before it’s too late; when investors are interested or could be pulling out; competitions’ moves; stay connected to buyers and suppliers; when staff and their unions could bring you down and so many more other important information – and how to navigate through.


Who views your website? Potential buyers, existing buyers, the Government, your competition, investors and many other significant publics do. Why then do you hand over your website to a ‘website manager’ who does not know who these groups are and how to engage them in everyone’s favour? The website is not just for posting latest designs, celebrity photos and what have you. In fact, as cheap as it is to create and run a website has become, many fashion brands in Nigeria prefer just Instagram accounts. They confine their businesses to the image app and lose out on all the gains available through owned websites. Little wonder they hardly go big, hardly go international, hardly attract Venture capitalists.


When you hand over your social media channels to a good fashion PR manager, it is not the same as when you do that with a trainee from the next social media marketing training. The later will help you sell, if he’s good, why not? But the PR manager knows how to keep you in business while he does not. The PR manager that is up-to-date on skill will handle your social media marketing professionally, help you make quick sale and help you last in business at the same time. He is more professional, and will cost you more, however. Pay the Social media handler N50,000 per month with no guaranteed future for your brand or pay the PR manager N100,000 to handle many other functions for you and still sustain you in business.


Events are a great way to communicate your brand and meet your market. There are events for existing stakeholders and other kinds of events for potential ones. If an events manager without PR training handles your events for you, there will be a huge difference in the long run. Regarding 3rd party events, the PR manager will know what events you should participate in and which to pass over.

Only the fashion business that wants to sell widely and last long will find it important to hire a great Public Relations manager. The small ones that want to stay small or quit business someday soon will better do without the PR function. Note that you may not see the effects of the fashion PR management immediately, but certainly PR will ensure your business lasts long enough to see those effects later. 

Written by Victoria ‘Slessor’ Akpan, an intern with Jabborro PR