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The Verdict: U.S. Skinny Model Guidelines Deemed “Cop-Out”

Posted by pr couture on January 11th, 2007

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On Tuesday, I mused about the guidelines the CFDA would soon be presenting to Designers at New York’s Fashion Week, wondering if the US would issue similar edicts to those that have been issued by Spain, Italy (Italian National Chamber of Fashion recently issued a Code of Ethics), and Brazil. According to the New York Times, the answer would be a big nuh uh.

Lookonline.com publisher Ernest Schmatolla calls the guidelines a cop-out, scoffing that “the best this group could come up were some non-binding “guidelines” for designers that included providing more nutritious food backstage at fashion shows, scheduling fittings earlier in the day for young models, and encouraging them to get more sleep.

Even editor Marilyn Kirschner, who recently said, “Other than the ‘Man Upstairs’, who is really in a position to decide who is too thin, who is naturally thin, and who is literally starving themselves,” appears to have had a change of heart, commenting on a recent spread in the January 2007 issue of Harper’s Bazaar that, “I have always felt that to a certain degree, what constitutes as “too thin” can often be subjective, a matter of taste, and an aesthetic call. (I happen to be very thin so what I consider to be too thin may differ from someone else’s point of view). That said…I was immediately struck by images of a young model…she appeared to be shockingly emaciated. She was literally skin and bones, with rail thin arms and legs, and protruding collarbone… you may be unable to put your finger on something or know exactly what “IT” is until you see it — these photos exemplified “IT”. Read the rest of this entry »

Tag You’re It

Posted by pr couture on January 10th, 2007

I found out from Melanie at Platinum Blonde Life that I was tagged by Julie at Almost Girl to fill out the 5 things meme. There is nothing I like more than getting sucked into quizzes, memes, surveys, 4-hour long google chats about unicorn horns - especially when the alternative is like, figuring out my entire life. Also, I finally put up my bio on the contributor’s page, so it’s time to start the share.

Like Julie however, I’m going to stick to fashion tidbits.

Here we go:

There’s an internet meme circulating called ‘five things you didn’t know about me’. Here’s how it works:

1. someone tags you,
2. you post five things about yourself that you haven’t already mentioned on your blog,
3. you tag people you’d like to know more about

1. Circa late 80s early 90s I has a serious matching problem. From the shoelaces in my white Keds, to the scrunchie in my side-ponytail, everything matched. One of my favorite outfits consisted of a various white-with-black-polka dots/black-with-white polka dots pieces - from the double layer of socks, scrunched down, the cotton/lycra bike pants, cotton/lycra mini-skirt, tank top, black and white jelly bracelets, black and white earrings, and to yes, the black-and-white-polka dot-scrunchie.

2. I don’t have regular socks anymore. Ever since Target started making argyle knee socks, knee socks with unicorns on them, knee socks with ruffles, I rarely wear anything else.

3. As Julie mentioned in her 5 things meme, I also own a pair of pants from Ann Taylor. They are wide legged, high-waisted light black wool. I recently brought them out of my closet at my parent’s house (where things live until they become wearable again) in the hopes that they might be, well, wearable again. Verdict is still out as I have gotten used to a nice 7.5-8 inch rise and am not sure they are long enough.

4. My favorite fashion magazine is called Lula - which I read voraciously and then keep on my table right by the couch when I need a fashion pick-me-up because it only comes out twice a year and costs as much as a book! If I could close my eyes and make a fashion universe it would be this magazine, which is really more like an art book, complete with interviews by people I love like Lisa Rovner and Miranda July. It leads me to shock San Diego with things like vintage aprons and petticoats.

5. My mom has been great about keeping me decked out in great accessories from her travels, making sure to gift me with great pieces every year, like my sterling silver criss-cross bangle that I wear all the time. Even at the gym. In spite of this, and of having worked for a jewelry company, I’ve only recently become interested in buying jewelry for myself, especially rings and earrings. Some of my favorite new pieces are this branch ring by Lisa Cimino and these amazing circle pieces by metalsmith Amy Tavern (thanks mom!).

Tagging Melanie, Priya, and Kayla.

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More what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules…
…any excuse to combine pirates, Johnny Depp, and fashion in the same post.

Brietbart.com reports that the CFDA will be issuing guidelines regarding skinny models.

According to The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) will issue its findings to designers, modeling agencies and production companies by the end of the week ahead of castings for fashion week, which begins on February 2.

I can’t wait to see what these guidelines turn out to be. The CFDA is poised to define the US fashion industry’s position as well as the scope of this debate on skinny models, BMI requirements etc. By encouraging awareness and promoting real changes to industry expectations, the CFDA guidelines, as well as the discussion sure to arise as a result, have the power to affect millions of lives, with the potential to influence modern society at its core. The way the fashion industry reacts or does not react to our thin-obsessed culture really is that big of a deal, and that’s a pretty big responsibility.

skorch.gifI remember picking up an issue of Mode magazine, a plus sized fashion glossy - probably in high school. It was the first time I saw women who were bigger than me, looking absolutely fantastically beautiful. So fashionably snazzy that I remember thinking, I just want to look like them - even wishing I was a tad more buxom so I could wear some of the clothes they were working. My mom and I shared a subscription because we enjoyed the mag and wanted to support the publication.

I was pouty when, after several years in print, Mode closed - (first they take away my Sassy, my Fabula, my Moxie - now this!) Despite a few valiant efforts post-Mode, there has yet to be a truly successful introduction of a real plus size fashion mag.

Hence - I’m excited about the prospects for Skorch - a new online fashion magazine based out of Portland. Their mission:

“We are not about labels. We want to help empower and inspire women to find that beauty within themselves they may not have realized was there. We vow to produce a credible fashion-forward magazine that will contain beautiful images, inspiring articles, and the best style tips around. Think of it as InStyle™, with a dash of Cosmo™ and a pinch of Vogue™.

Here’s hoping that the world is finally ready for this new plus size focus as well as the magazine-style online format. Congrats to founders Jessica Reese and Carrie Woomer for making it happen. Read the release.

PR Couture official member of Coutorture

Posted by pr couture on January 4th, 2007

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I am so excited to announce that PR Couture is now a member of Coutorture’s exciting Industry section, sharing space with the likes of Fashion Verbatim, The Runway Scoop, and Extra Tasty.

What is Coutorture?

Coutorture Media is an online fashion community of nearly 200 of the most insightful, inspiring, and well read fashion websites and blogs gathered into one space. Our network is dedicated to raising the public consciousness of blogging as well as promoting independent perspectives, opinion, and experiences from around the blogosphere.

As the only independent Fashion PR blogger out there, the response and support I have gotten from Julie, Co-founder and EIC, (ever since, in my track-back naivete, I ooh’d and ahh’d about wanting to have her Pucci-clad babies) has been so gratifying. We both agree that Fashion and PR are under-developed and under-appreciated fields of study, and are committed bridging the gap between theory and practice through community. Plus, stuff like this…”Coutorture’s philosophy is based on the idea that communities know their needs better than outsiders and as such should be able to actively participate, engage, and work to shape their community. Coutorture is the new fashion community! Coutorture’s mission is to highlight the wealth and diversity of the fashion blogosphere while creating an online fashion community that is open and accountable to all” makes me go all weak in the knees, a-flutter. Read the rest of this entry »

Seventeen Mag Chooses New Editor in Chief - Ann Shoket

Posted by pr couture on January 4th, 2007

Seventeen mag has chosen their Atoosa replacement in the form of Ann Shoket, current executive editor at Cosmogirl.

Daily FishbowlNY sums up some interesting facts about the new 34 year-old editor including her Amazon wishlist and favored college cuisine.

Shoket faces the task of keeping Seventeen relevant and ad-happy (Seventeen’s single copy sales were up 2.5 percent in 2006, according to Hearst estimates, but its ad sales were down about 3 percent) in world that has seen the recent end of prior teen girl staples like Teen People and Elle Girl (now available at Ellegirl.com, and my favorite in the teen mag spree) as well as those magazines I grew up on like YM, Teen, and Sassy (RIP beloved Sassy). There are those that say that as long as there are bathtubs, there will be a place in the world for teen/women’s fashion magazines, but the real task for editors and publishers alike is providing content that girls want, in the places they want it - and that increasingly means supplanting the traditional paper mag with a strong online presence.

As for Atoosa, her myspace suggests a book in the works and a penchant for Journey.
Full release below.

Read the rest of this entry »

Target named Retail Marketer of the Year

Posted by pr couture on January 3rd, 2007
Retail Marketer of the Year: Target

by Sarah Mahoney, Tuesday, Jan 2, 2007 5:00 AM ET

IT’S HARD NOT TO LOVE Target. Sure, people come in for mundane things: Lightbulbs, socks, maybe a new shower curtain. But the typical shopper finds it tough not to get sidetracked into browsing.

Maybe it’s the always unexpected array of chic coats or well-made wardrobe basics. Or maybe it’s the gleaming housewares aisles, which make people feel like they’ve somehow outsmarted Crate & Barrel. Or maybe it’s the tempting row of bargain bins that beg to be pawed through, with their welcoming pictures of the store’s peppy little canine mascot instead of markdown signs. This is a store that makes shoppers feel clever, not broke.

What makes it work so well, says Jennifer Halterman, a consultant with Retail Forward, based in Columbus, Ohio, “is that everything the store does in its marketing, online, and in the store experience, delivers on Target’s brand promise: ‘Expect more, and pay less.’ “

For Target, all that paying less is certainly paying off. For November 2006, the most recent period available, Target’s sales increased 11.7% to $5.1 billion. Comparable-store sales–considered to be the best indicator of how a retailer is really faring–increased 5.9%, at a time when rival Wal-Mart was awash in poor results and worse publicity. And in a season when many mass stores sent up warning flags that the holidays might not be so happy, Target reaffirmed its prediction of same-store sales gains of between 3.5% and 5.5% for December.

Part of its ongoing success is the retailer’s sensitivity to pricing. Target was quick to respond to the $4 generic drug pricing Wal-Mart introduced last year, and the store’s ads, fliers, and Web site always showcase the low prices of national brands.

But to a large degree, the “Expect more” half of Target’s brand equation dominates the store’s marketing message, delivered through the constant introduction of new design.

Read the rest of this entry »

Interview with Artus Concepcion of Headquarters PR

Posted by pr couture on December 29th, 2006

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Power (and Price) of Fashion PR

Posted by pr couture on December 29th, 2006

Jonathon over at My Handbag and Purse Addiction offers a nice glimpse into the role of Fashion PR, commenting:

It is no tall claim to say that effective Fashion Public Relations can spell the difference between a brilliant but unsuccessful fashion house and a good fashion house that is extremely successful!

One caveat - He goes on to state the old maxim that PR is free as opposed to advertising, and that this is one of the reasons smaller fashion companies can benefit from great PR messaging. It’s true that PR is less expensive than traditional advertising, and it is a great option for emerging fashion designers working with smaller budgets. However, the problem with the “PR is Free” idea is that it often translates into less perceived value, respect and yes, less compensation for PR practitioners. As people become more immune advertising, PR offers one of the most credible and valuable means of communicating with target publics. It requires strategic thinking, relationship building, creativity, and a host of other skills. Public relations is not advertising, but it is also never free.