How Big-Name PR Firms Are Helping Young Designers

Today, KCD will host its seasonal open house, where market editors, stylists and other fashion types will be given the opportunity to see the latest collections from the PR powerhouse's roster of brands—including Givenchy, Chloe and Marc by Marc Jacobs—up-close. Mostly everyone attends KCD's press day because it's filled with great brands that magazines (and, increasingly, websites) want to shoot. That's why it's such a coup for three-year-old accessories line Reece Hudson to show its Fall 2013 collection alongside KCD's clients. As an emerging label, the company can't afford to pay KCD a monthly retainer for representation. But designer Reece Solomon and business partner Max Stein are mentored by KCD senior vice president of public relations, Renee Barletta, through the CFDA incubator program.
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Today, KCD will host its seasonal open house, where market editors, stylists and other fashion types will be given the opportunity to see the latest collections from the PR powerhouse's roster of brands—including Givenchy, Chloe and Marc by Marc Jacobs—up-close. Mostly everyone attends KCD's press day because it's filled with great brands that magazines (and, increasingly, websites) want to shoot. That's why it's such a coup for three-year-old accessories line Reece Hudson to show its Fall 2013 collection alongside KCD's clients. As an emerging label, the company can't afford to pay KCD a monthly retainer for representation. But designer Reece Solomon and business partner Max Stein are mentored by KCD senior vice president of public relations, Renee Barletta, through the CFDA incubator program.
Reece Solomon of Reece Hudson handbags.

Reece Solomon of Reece Hudson handbags.

Today, KCD will host its seasonal open house, where market editors, stylists and other fashion types will be given the opportunity to see the latest collections from the PR powerhouse's roster of brands—including Givenchy, Chloe and Marc by Marc Jacobs—up-close.

Mostly everyone attends KCD's press day because it's filled with great brands that magazines (and, increasingly, websites) want to shoot. That's why it's such a coup for three-year-old accessories line Reece Hudson to show its Fall 2013 collection alongside KCD's clients. As an emerging label, the company can't afford to pay KCD a monthly retainer for representation. But designer Reece Solomon and business partner Max Stein are mentored by KCD senior vice president of public relations, Renee Barletta, through the CFDA incubator program.

"We're a small business, so we do all of our PR in house," says Solomon. "To have someone like Renee, one of the top people at a PR company that is so important, so influential, so big in what they do...to be able to bounce ideas and ask questions...it's invaluable."

Incidentally, the CFDA is also one of KCD's clients. Yet there's no denying Barletta's participation in the program is more than a PR stunt. After all, the kind of advice she's giving Solomon and Stein doesn't typically come cheap. "I am so proud to be a part of the mentoring program," says Barletta. "There's so much young talent and it's inspiring to watch them grow and help them work toward their goals."

The KCD-Reece Hudson relationship isn't the only one of its kind. HL Group, another big New York PR firm, took on Daniel Vosovic and Whit by Whitney Pozgay in January, assisting them with fashion week presentations and other PR-y stuff. (To be clear: HL Group will not say on-the-record whether or no Vosovic and Pozgay are paying the firm. "We do not disclose our fee arrangements as a matter of policy," says a rep. However, we do have it on good authority that both designers are getting a good deal.) Paul Wilmot Communications brought on Timo Weiland as a client last year and gives the designer a special rate because they are new. "PWC wants to offer our services but understands their money is needed elsewhere at the same time," a rep told us.

But it's not just luck that got Solomon, Vosovic, Weiland, and Pozgay such desirable representation. In 2011, each of these designers was selected to join the CFDA incubator program, an initiative that—as previously mentioned—affords them easier access to people like Barletta across all areas of the business. Solomon, while happy with the exclusivity of the program because it certainly gives her a competitive edge, still admits that she's increasingly generous with her own time when newbie designers ask her questions. "When you’re first starting, it's so hard to get access," she says. "I'm more than happy to help, even if I'm not that far off from where they are at."

If you're heading to KCD's open house this afternoon, make sure to stop by Reece Hudson's station. Here's hoping we see more opportunities for young designers like this in the future.