Last week, we were incredibly lucky to be joined by Holly Mirza, Co-founder and Director at Fabric PR at our November INTOFashion masterclass. Holly, who has worked in PR for 18 years, shared her career journey and some top tips for people hoping to get into the field.
“When I was at university twenty odd years ago, they didn’t have PR and Marketing degrees,” Holly explained. She instead studied English and History at Manchester, before joining a technology PR graduate scheme. After three years, she realised she liked fashion and retail, and after years of uncertainty during her twenties, got a job as a PR manager at Selfridges.
By her fifth and final year at the iconic department store, she worked as the Head of Press, overseeing the many different brands stocked by Selfridges.
Afterwards, Holly worked at Freud Communications as an Associate Board Director, which dealt with major fashion retailers like Converse and George at Asda. But when her husband, a fashion journalist, established Fabric PR in 2010, she made the career move to join forces with him.
Her work at Fabric PR
PR, Holly explained, is “a way of talking to brands”, and speaking to them about the products they sell. “My job is trying to get a dress I look after into the Grazia photoshoot.”
Fabric PR currently has 21 clients, and the team work on press releases, constantly liaising with journalists, sending samples or images and hosting events. “Events is a big part of PR and what we do,” Holly said. They’re not just simple sit-downs, either: they can be catwalks, breakfasts with bloggers, evening events or store launches.
Bloggers and social influencers are constantly kept part of the loop. These influencers are the key to the exposure Holly wants for her clients, using social media platforms such as Instagram to reach their audiences. “Social media thing is massive, and a really great thing for PR – it’s given me a hundred other channels to promote my clients on,” Holly enthused.
Interns are an integral part to Holly’s day-to-day work at Fabric PR – she always has two or three of them in the office at any one time.
“If someone’s got substance and something a bit different, I like to work with them.”
According to Holly, the ideal internship is one or two months long. She personally tends to hire hers for three months, although the current two interns have reached the half-year mark. “I understand and appreciate how hard it is, and I know how high the cost of living in London is, too.”
“I get ten CVs a day. What really sets people apart is the experience. If I can see that someone is really serious about it, I will definitely consider them.”
- Fashion degrees can help, but they are not the be all and end all
- School leavers are considered if they have the experience
- Familiarise yourself with the blogging scene: Holly often asks interviewees which bloggers they follow
- If you can get some experience at London Fashion Week, that’s ideal
- Networking is so important: “It’s all about who you know, and it’s about trying to get yourself out there.”
- Get to know Adobe Photoshop and InDesign (there’s plenty of Youtube tutorials out there)
- You have to be resilient, and you have to get the work experience
- Don’t think that a background in fashion retail is pointless: “I’ve had some great interns that have come from the shop floor – they know about clothes, trends and styling”
We just want to say a huge thanks to Holly once again!
If you’d like to attend the next masterclass and join the INTOFashion Programme please get in touch with us – firstname.lastname@example.org