The following are pieces of an interview from the Philippine Daily Inquirer with Artus Concepcion of Headquarters PR in New York. Read the original here.
PR man to the fashion stars
MANY PEOPLE THINK of the PR world to be all about glitz, glam, and endless schmoozing at cocktail parties among society’s namedroppables. Well, yes it is, but thats only one aspect of it. There is a whole other side to this cutthroat business that involves a lot of hard work, strategic planning and creative thinking for valued clientele.
Meet Artus Concepcion, a Filipino at the helm of the very successful Headquarters PR in New York City. It all stemmed from a passion for fashion (I can relate to that), which led him to the ins and outs of working for such high-end clientele as Calvin Klein and Vivienne Tam.
This seasoned PR man’s resume reads like a red-carpet invite list: Hes done publicity work for the likes of Anna Sui, Isaac Mizrahi, Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein and Jimmy Choo.
He likewise led PR work for London-based brands Ben Sherman and Evisu Sportswear, and directed activities for hip-hop brand Marc Ecko.
Along with his partner Karina Sokolovsky, who has done global publicity for eight years at J Crew, he heads Headquarters PR, whose services run the gamut of professional PR services, from public relations strategy development to day-to-day press relations, special events, celebrity wardrobing, product launches and philanthropy programs.
Step into his office and find out a few tricks of the trade of fashion PR in one of the world’s fashion capitals.
What kind of publicity work do you do?
I do fashion PR. We do mostly fashion-oriented planning. The clients that we have are Vivienne Tam, Catherine Maladrino, Mexx. We have a few European brands, like Evisu. We also do shows for Oakley and Calvin Klein, which is currently a consulting client of ours.
Are you only US-based?
Our work is mostly centered in New York, but were trying to open a satellite office in London, too. There are a lot of hot new designers there, and so we want to offer our PR and representation services if they need it in New York as well. We are a small PR agency, and we want to keep it that way. We have about 14 clients that we deal with directly.
What is your background? What led you to PR?
I grew up in Pampanga, and then I went to college in UP and in San Francisco. After college I moved to Los Angeles. So I used to work for an AIDS foundation there. And then in 1991, there was an event for Calvin Klein, which was for an AIDS foundation, and Kate Moss attended this. She was really hot and she was the poster girl for Calvin Klein. Then I met the people from New York who produced the show, so I freelanced for them in 1993 and I moved to New York to work for KCD. They had Marc Jacobs, Versace, Chloe, and Anna Sui. So pretty much I started doing PR in 91-92. I have always loved fashion, so I was led naturally into it. It wasnt really my major in college, so I just fell into doing what I really love. I’ve worked for different agencies, I’ve worked in-house for Mark Ecko, and I did PR for Old Navy as well, and then started my own agency two and a half years ago. This is really my baby; its so much better to work for you!
How did you get your roster of high-end clients?
We didn’t really advertise our agency to get our clients, it was mostly through networking. Most of the fashion editors recommended the hot new designers to us. We always work with all of the fashion magazine editors, from Vogue to Bazaar, even men’s magazines like GQ. We also work with international magazines, like ID in the UK, Dazed and Confused, Italian Vogue and British Vogue. Since we also do store events, the bulk of the work is actually the calling of editors, insider TV, fashion segments on TV, celebrity channels, celebrity magazines like People or Us Weekly.
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