A Volunteer’s Take on Fashion Week

15 Sep A Volunteer’s Take on Fashion Week

You know why I love PR? You’re never bored.

In my first three months as a full time SpeakerBoxer I have gotten to dip my toe in to just about every element of PR, and there are many. That’s probably why public relations is number seven on the list of the top most confusing professions. But PR pros are lucky because they’re never done finding new things to try.

Before last weekend I had been to fashion week once. I spent an hour just walking around Lincoln Center in awe and not just because of the outrageous clothes, chic vendors, or the fact that I was in the same room as Anna Wintour.

I was amazed by how much work it must have taken to choreograph hundreds of shows with a revolving door of VIPs and a constant stream of press that knows no boundaries.

Everywhere you looked there were PR pros running around with headsets and clipboards checking off lists and making sure everything was perfect. It looked stressful, exhausting, and demanding. But really it looked like so much fun.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to be a PR volunteer during Fashion Week in NYC at a VIP event. It was exactly as exhausting and intimidating as it looked. All of the sudden I was one of the maniacs running around with a clipboard trying to get things perfect. Here are a few things I learned from my time at NYC Fashion Week:

1: Know what’s going on around you.

There is no faster way to annoy a VIP than not knowing who they are. If you’re working an event – and this goes beyond just the world of fashion – do some research and know who you are working with. Being able to have a casual conversation about their latest project will make you look more professional and put them at ease.

2: Even if your job isn’t so glamorous—smile.

When people think of PR they think of parties and red carpets. But let’s face it, at the entry/volunteer level you’re at the bottom of the barrel—and that’s fine. Take every job that is handed to you (or more accurately thrown at you) and be great at it. At the end of the day people will notice that you did all the work they didn’t want to and they’ll appreciate it.

3: You don’t know everything so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

People in the PR world understand how eager and willing you are to get experience. That being said, no one expects you to know everything. It’s better to clear up any confusion you have right away than to make a mistake later.

So basically here’s my message to all the PR students/recent grads out there: I was recently in your shoes and PR is awesome but your career is going to go only as far as you push it.

Get out of your routine and try something different. You never know who you’ll meet and what new opportunites you’ll find. I never thought my first job would be at a tech PR firm, but every day I’m challenged to learn something new and push the boundaries of what I know I can do.

Sally McHugh
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