26 March 2015

My PR Internship at Ralph Lauren

This February I had the momentuous opportunity to work as a PR intern in Ralph Lauren's Press office in their flagship store (New Bond/Cork Street) in London.
It was the most demanding, busiest, hardest thing I've ever had to do: but it was exhilarating and I enjoyed every minute of it to the core.

I was working at Ralph Lauren for the month of February, in a team of four. I worked under and alongside my two incredibly inspiring bosses; and got to know two other lovely girls and fellow interns, Jess and Charlotte, throughout my month. As well as everyone else (it seemed) who worked in the building!

I have an unbelievable amount of things I want to share with you, but you have to understand that as part of my responsibility is representing Ralph Lauren, there are a few things I will have to leave out.
But I do hope you can still share my excitement with me as you read along (even if I can't say who)!

What did I do?
In a nutshell: I booked courriers to pick up and drop off clothes from us to magazines/VIPs; I checked out clothes by writing up a docket. Every morning I went through the newspapers, supplements and sometimes magazines to find RL in the Press. I then scanned them to perfection, edited them, and saved them.

I packed and unpacked clothes in Large/Medium/Small Bags, Suitors, Boxes etc. These were to be sent to Paris, Milan, New York, or so close to Bond Street I'd drop it off by hand as I left.
We sent out clothes for photo shoots to publications such as Vogue, GQ, Evening Standard, W, Roller coaster, Glamour, Marie Claire, Esquire, Golf World; You name it, we sent it.

I sent off many candles and bags as thank you gifts to various fashion kings and queens. Odd jobs included updating a contact list of everyone in the fashion industry's title and e-mail (Vogue Russia was an interesting one to type out), organising closets (my OCD heaven), and hand delivering one of a kind garments to a celebrity's hotel room the night before the Brit Awards!! (see excitement below in elevator and taxi)

My oh my where do I start? I will split this up like the neat freak I am: in a list!

10 Things I Learned While Working at Ralph Lauren

1. For the last time; the Fashion world is NOT like the Devil Wears Prada. Surprise surprise; people are kind AND glamorous! They are not just one or the other!
I have no awful stories to tell you of being shouted at or having to fetch 100+ coffees for everyone.

The fashion industry is just like any other industry. Take media for example, my boyfriend's line of work. We both have offices with desks, computers (on which we mostly use Excel and E-mail), mail to pick up, printers to print emails, expenses, accounting and such etc. The only difference is my line of work is so much more exciting to me than his...

So to me it isn't ordinary mail; it's monthly early glossies (magazines) and SS15 Black Label Clothes back from a photo shoot from across the world.

WW Polo SS15, WW Black Label SS15 (and Resort), WW Collection (Safari) SS15 Closets in our showroom.

2. I learned how to damn well pick up the phone.
Glamorous and exciting as it was that I was booking a Courier to Vogue, when I started at Ralph Lauren (and even before) I had the biggest phobia of picking up the phone.
Moreso with the amount of responsibility I had. But as Jess, the wonderful intern who mentored me through my first two weeks, said to me (about most everything I would worry about);
'The more you do it the easier it gets'.

First time; I had a script. Didn't go so well when they digressed from my script but I asked my team and managed ungracefully.

Second time; still had my script, segwayed my way through the conversation like a champ and got the job done flawlessly.

Third; tried without my script and I was worse than first time I called. Followed by panicky 'please hold' as I searched for my book/script as if it was oxygen.

Seventieth time; "Oh heeeeellllooooo James how are you this fine sunny morning? I'm swell! How do you know it's me? You're so good at this! Oh really? Hahaha! Yes indeed I would like to book a bike!  Account number 305- Oh you know the rest! Such good memory you've got; sharp thing you!"

I even learned my phonetic alphabet which I didn't think I would ever need or want to learn.
But after this incident...

"Yes N15 0WP"
"I'm sorry M for Mike?"
"Uh.. no N for .. Noodle?"
Woman on the phone cracks up a little and everyone the office snorts a little.
"Uhhh W for Water?"
All the girls in the room crack up again
"P for.... Parrot?"
Everyone just busts into laughter.

By the end; it was well worth knowing my Mikes from my Novembers. Even if only to avoid having another Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment like that again...

Not so enthusiastic face in honour of that embarrassing little blip!

3. When dealing with VIP's and Celebrities; play it cool...
I said 'play it cool' goddamn it! stop your giddy giggling this instant!
Hard as it was for me to convince myself- it really is not that big of a deal. The fashion world plays a huge part in the behind the scenes of the movie industry, always has.
But how lucky was I to be working at Ralph Lauren during awards season!!! BAFTA's, Oscars, Grammy's, Brit Awards. My oh my, I'm biting my tongue again!!

Lucky for me I get to keep Eddie on my wall of stars...
Not necessarily to ogle at while on the phone.. But to remind me
who wore RL at what event for when going through the press in the morning!
4. Hard work pays off.
Sending out 20 pieces of clothing just to have them sent back and not featured in anything sucked. But you get used to it.
Sending out 1 piece and seeing it feature in a styling page, double page spread or even a cover?! That was priceless. And you never get used to it.

This is my portfolio in my lap before my interview to LCF for PR: Full of those gems that I was involved with...
(Giselle in Collection SS15 in March Vogue, and Rosie in Collection SS15 in March Glamour!) 

5. I would not have survived if I was not part of a team.
It's like playing 2x2 tennis; except instead of the goal being to defeat the team mates, it's to just keep the ball moving. I had a quick learning curve in my first week. It's imperative to learn to ask questions and divvy up work. You are learning, but you sure as hell don't know everything. You need to manage your incompetence like a boss. Even feeling like the small fry I was in my first week, I learned to trade, pass on, and ask for work. Back and forth with tasks and questions all to keep the ball moving; like tennis!

These are the wooden panelled walls and floors that decorate the office that the dream team (that's us) works and thrives in.

6. In the same vein of treat others how you would like to be treated; leave behind what you want to be remembered by. Once you are settled into any system (me at two weeks in) there will be things that you will begin to critique in your mind. Things are run in a certain way and you need to understand that it will stay that way; Ralph Lauren can't have an intern every month changing everything. But what you can leave behind to make the person who fills your shoes job easier is the considerate, way forward, right thing to do. Even if that means just reorganised filing, closets, or even introducing a system of putting a rubber band around a roll of stickers so that it doesn't fall apart  (© Josephine Enterprises).
MW Polo SS15 Closet; organised by me.

Perhaps one of my greatest joys and achievements... If only I could be bothered to do this to my own closet...
7. Chocolate and Tea can go a long way. It was a pleasure to take care of my team by treating them, and it was a pleasure to be taken care of by my team and treated. It was ritual for all of us to stop whatever we were doing, no matter how important, to take time to celebrate a birthday, a goodbye, or a congratulations. On my last day being on the receiving end of that meant the world to me.
Selfie of Ralph and I on my last day. Bittersweet send off.
8. When working in fashion it's not all about what you wear, it's how you wear it.
I'd seen girls walking into work in gym gear; and showing up in the office two minutes later looking so glamorous it would take me hours to match them. They looked stunning in both because they wore it with confidence.
The next morning I was inspired and so grabbed my black trainers to wear on my way to work because God forbid I ruin a heel (or an ankle) on my way down 4 escalators to the tube!
Nightmare struck when I arrive at the office (in a skirt and my sneakers, even more mortifying) and forgot the heels all together!
To my surprise; no one cared. So.. I didn't either? Therefore I pulled it off? Back to work then!

This bejewelled beauty never stayed in our closet for longer than a day! So popular for photoshoots! I see why.

9. If you make a mistake; it's not the end of the world.
I sent out the wrong date on one of the dockets.
I sent the courrier to the wrong place.
I ended up walking 40 minutes to buy cupcakes instead of going to the same brand right next to our building.
Yes they were stupid mistakes. Yes some of them were a big deal. Life goes on.
Rectify your mistakes as best as possible, learn from them so they don't happen again, and a happy bonus is when you do something extra well afterwards to make up for it!
Your pride will heal, your confidence will grow more, and no one will remember it in a day! Chin up!

Once in a while we'd get notes like these. Really truly made my day every time.
Thanks/Dankjewel team Marie Claire Netherlands!
10.  Fashion is the career path for me.
I think about what I did at Ralph Lauren in hindsight often, and it's incredible what I accomplished and did, but of course there were times when I woke up in the morning after a night out swearing blue murder at the fact I had to get out of bed.

But then I wake up just that little bit more and think of all the deliciously coloured, and lavishly designed clothes I'll be sending out or receiving that day. I'll eagerly start to anticipate what might be in the news to do with Ralph Lauren that morning- which celebrities?. I'll squeal at the possibility of having a whole closet to myself to re-organise (it's sad but a true source of joy in my life). I jump out of bed at the idea of getting to work with my team, in my complete and utter element, and do 80 things that day that are more productive and rewarding than a whole weekend all to myself.

My energy and diligence was fuelled by my silly girly giddy feelings for fashion; if you don't get that in whatever profession you are in; then maybe it's not career path for you!

The craftsmanship and materials of some of the clothes were enough to make me want to cry. This yellow leather/suede trench for example!

Or this extravagant dress from this advertising campaign that isn't for sale on a shop floor!

The working world is is so different to anything I've ever known. Academic life doesn't not even remotely prepare you for the responsibilities that are passed on down to you. Every move you make is serious; you are a cog in the machine of something much larger than you.
It's so much more challenging, serious, and demanding as well as rewarding, exciting, and meaningful than academic life it seems to me. But I suppose I'm getting ahead of myself; and should do with 3 more years of studying and preparation and not working full time just yet! I'm still 18!
But it's nice to know exactly what I'm looking forward to at the other end...

Vintage RL Shoes.... Dribble Drool....

 Happy quirky outfits while at RL!

The day after RL WW AW15 Collection ran down the runway there was a lot of press to be filed!

Another day at the office; and tough life having to stroll down Burlington Arcade Every Morning to get to work! Ooh La La!

I do hope these shoes fit your feet for the photoshoot Mr. Nicolas P. From Italy ;)
These Jeans went EVERYWHERE! You think you could DIY a pair as pretty as these?
Nights out after work (some school) with my friends! Wonderful routine we picked up! Bowling Tuesdays, Japanese Fridays, and dancing Saturdays!

Learned how to steam a suit (for a special VIP...), fold a pocket square, and care for a dress made of feathers like this!

Overall; I had an amazing and unforgettable experience at Ralph Lauren and hope to work there again someday!
I mean look how happy I am around all these clothes! Who needs friends??

5 March 2015

Accepted into LCF for Fashion PR!!

I wanted to share with you all that I have been accepted into the London College of Fashion (part of University Arts London) for Public Relations and Communications!!
This is very happy news because this was my top choice and I have spent 2014 trying to figure out what I wanted to do, and I have happily found myself falling for the world of fashion.

(Ball drop moment) : this is why I titled this blog Rogue gone Vogue. It's a metaphor. Clever, right?

It's always been something I loved and followed but never thought of fashion as something I could pursue professionally. After I moved to London, went to the Conde Nast College of Fashion and had this internship at Ralph Lauren (blog post soon...) it was clear that fashion was in fact very professionally pursuable. What's more there is a whole spectrum of choices! From fashion design to styling, illustration to photography. But fashion PR is what I've decided I want to do.

What is fashion PR?
I was asked this in my interview and was stumped. Stupid really; it's what I'm applying for and there I was stumped. But it's a difficult subject to pin down and describe when it's so broad and changing. (Keep in mind Fashion PR was very different and arguably didn't exist 60 years ago!)

So I explain it in two ways; the factual way I explained it to my interviewers, which simultaneously (roughly) explains what PR is...

"PR is the strategy behind communicating; the positive exploitation of relationships (not an evil thing I promise) and the brand to brand/brand to consumer relationship and voice blah blah blah"

And the bubbly silly way I explain it to my friends, which simultaneously explains why I chose PR...

PR is the reason that you feel like Chanel runs in your family, or that GAP is the only place for jeans, or that you'd argue with your mum 'it's not just a plain white shirt, it's a ____ white shirt'.

They needle and thread together the fashion weeks, to the celebrities who attend them, to the glossy magazines with glamorous ease.

The deeply emotional yet giddy feeling you get inside before you watch SS15 or FW15 strut down the runway.

The exciting and fabulous part of fashion where you get meet celebrities but act as flippant and professional as you get on with your job.

Everything you see on TV that you feel that merits the adjectives 'glamorous' or 'fabulous' is, or is down to, fashion PR.

It's exciting, overwhelming, but an adventure every day and every way.

That's why I'm doing PR.