The Role of Media Manipulation in Fashion Design


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by Sarah Clark
Fashion School Review Columnist

September 13, 2007


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Fashion designers must know not only how to craft an elegant drape, a basic fashion school skill, but also how to use the media to raise interest in their designs. Read on to find out why media relations are so important to fashion designers.

Red Carpet Advertising
The choice of red carpet gowns worn by Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, and Nicole Kidman are anything but arbitrary. In recent years, big-name clothing designers have sought out stunning starlets to model their dresses during some of the most highly publicized media events. It's become one of the most high-profile promotional tools used by top-tier clothing designers.

Cozying Up to the Media
Media outlets like E! News, Entertainment Tonight, and Inside Edition provide a way for savvy fashion designers to get free publicity. Designers and their media handlers just have to find clever ways to catch their attention or gracefully insert themselves into an event covered by entertainment media.

How do fashion designers and their brand managers handle this? By dressing actresses, of course, and also by sponsoring events like the Cannes Film Festival and high-profile charity events attended by socialites and A-listers.

Managing media relations for a clothing designer involves more art than science. It takes a keen understanding of how the media business works. It also helps to have contacts in the media. If you know the producers, editors, or hosts of a show you're more likely to have a chance to be featured in their broadcasts. If you make it onto Oprah, as did Valentino and a couple of lesser-known designers, you've hit the jackpot of media appearances.

Fashion School and Media Relations
To learn more about using the media as a promotional tool, seek out a media relations course during fashion school or take an online course in your spare time. Even if you end up taking a few courses at your local university's communications or marketing department, it can be well worth the time.

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About the Author
Sarah Clark is a freelance writer specializing in career development and postsecondary education.

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