Fashion PR recruitment feels the pinch

I recently wrote an Agency Business feature on the effect that celebrity influence has on fashion PR recruitment. Because so many of those I...

I recently wrote an Agency Business feature on the effect that celebrity influence has on fashion PR recruitment. Because so many of those I spoke with saw "celebrity" as a predominant trend, I was unable to include all of the interesting bits they said, including the impact of a weakening economy on agencies representing emerging designers.

Mauricio Padilha, CEO of Mao PR, an agency that specializes in new designers, was one executive who said clients are holding their wallets tighter.

“Due to the poor dollar, potential clients are weighing the benefit of PR more carefully," Padilha said, via e-mail. "Conversely, European designers have been looking for representation in the states more so than in the past.”

The crunch makes every dollar spent more important, too, he said.

“Grabbing an editor’s attention and getting them to support a brand takes on more urgency," he said. "Also, knowledge of Photoshop is next to essential and helps cut costs.”

As a result, he said, “When we do hire, it’s important that the candidate possess extra skills, such as foreign language or computer skills, in addition to their strategizing skills.”

Cece Feinberg explained that current economic conditions dictate a fine balance between youth and experience. Feinberg, representing both corporate and emerging designers, says that her agency focuses a little stronger on the corporate client.

“An emerging designer is less likely to pay their bills, to be blunt about it, so you really do want [a candidate] who is responsible, someone who can speak to both the corporate client and a type of fashion editor," she said. "There still has to be a youth and an understanding of trends and what’s going on in fashion.”

Anyone want to offer more input on how the economy is affecting fashion PR? Please do!

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