On brands, sponsorship and home turf
There’s kind of an unspoken rule in the Irish fashion industry – and maybe in Ireland as a whole – that we don’t bitch about each other. Y’know: we support each other. We like to buy Irish; we like it …
There’s kind of an unspoken rule in the Irish fashion industry – and maybe in Ireland as a whole – that we don’t bitch about each other. Y’know: we support each other. We like to buy Irish; we like it when Irish brands and people do well; and, especially within this kind of industry, we’re quite scared that if we wax critical about brands, PR companies* or people, we won’t be hired / considered to work with / sit beside / share oxygen with them again. But this kind of industry stagnates. Without constructive criticism, we can’t grow – and without constructive criticism, we can’t learn to constructively critique ourselves.
I thought about all this when I took a look at the Glamourai’s post on Fashion’s Night Out (an endeavour, and its severe lacking in the Irish scene, that merits a post entirely of its own). Kelly Framel, aka the Glamourai, went to a True Religion store to host a Fashion’s Night Out event with readers and customers, not in and of itself a particularly extraordinary exercise in PR.
What was interesting about her collaboration with the brand, and subsequent post about it, was the fact that she wasn’t wearing head to toe True Religion. This may seem a simplistic distinction, but, nine times out of 10 (in my experience), a brand that is paying for a collaboration (and Framel is one of the US’s – and probably the world’s – highest paid bloggers) will expect the stylist, blogger or journalist in question to be decked out in that brand, head to toe.
It’s something that I’ve battled with again and again – showing brands that by demanding 100 per cent brand loyalty they are losing out on a certain amount of credibility; a stylist wearing head to toe Dunnes (for example) during a Dunnes customer event will get a “yeah, of course she’s wearing Dunnes”. But a stylist wearing a Dunnes top with her own jeans and jacket will give the message that this brand can be incorporated into a very stylish person’s wardrobe and look good. It’s the difference between supporting and selling out, and I feel like it’s something the Irish industry doesn’t quite get yet.
* Despite our fears, Irish PRs are usually far better at taking criticism than their international counterparts. I recently had an altercation with a UK-based PR via email, when she accused me of “attacking” her brand by pointing out, on another blog, that they were, well, really quite rubbish at what they were doing – mediocre vintage-indie fare at a far higher price than, well, genuine vintage indie fare. When I told her, in so many words, that she was being ridiculous and that I would say what I wanted about her brand, she took the serious hump and has not contacted me from that good day to this.