Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fashion PR students tweet, blog – and more – to promote designers

By Lauren Adams


Blogging, tweeting and Instagram-ing may be vital to the visual, fast-paced world of fashion, but promoting a brand requires much more than an effective social media campaign.

In the Fashion Public Relations capstone course, part of the fashion media minor taught for the first time this spring, each student chose a fashion designer to represent throughout the semester and created a full media campaign for that designer’s upcoming collection.

“Everyone loves to watch the runway shows and talk about the latest collections, but this class goes a little deeper and helps us understand what brands go through to get their product on your mind and in your closet,” said Natalie Coca, a communications studies major and arts administration minor.

Effective public relations strategies for building a fashion brand and managing reputation call for an understanding of the nuances of the fashion business, said Nina Flournoy, who teaches the Fashion Public Relations capstone.

From raw materials, manufacturing and distribution, to runway and retail sales, students explore public relations practices in the fashion industry, which differ from mainstream PR in several ways.

“The print, online and broadcast media covering the fashion world require a different strategy for getting media coverage,” said Flournoy.

This includes pitching various fashion media with newsworthy angles, weaving charity or cause affiliations into the campaign, and utilizing traditional and social media platforms.

In addition to creating a formal campaign report and timeline, Flournoy also had students produce press releases, fact sheets, backgrounders, media lists and press kits — tools that ensure each client reaches his or her intended media and receives the exposure necessary for campaign success, said Rebecca Marin, who chose to represent designer Marchesa.

The students’ finalized campaign strategies and press kits can be used to boost their personal portfolios.

“I have already contacted the public relations department for my client, and they just emailed me back expressing interest in viewing my documents,” said Marin, who interned with Vogue this summer.

McKenna Cottam, an advertising major and fashion media minor, said she felt “kind of behind the 8 ball” when she entered the class without a strong foundation in public relations. But the class provided her with a better understanding of the fashion industry, as well as skills she can use in the future.

Coca, who hopes to pursue a career in musical theater, has also gleaned useful knowledge from this look into branding and marketing in the fashion industry.

“I have learned how to successfully market a brand,” she said, “which in this case would be myself.”

Leave a comment | Posted in Articles

Who do fashionable women dress to impress? Just ask The Man Repeller

By Laura Shepard


To repel or not repel? A question for chic girls who love designer creations that other women covet, but most men can’t stand

We all know the scene in Legally Blonde, where the pool boy-turned trial witness tells Elle Woods “don’t stomp your little last-season Prada shoes at me, honey.”

And of course, it is after  this statement that Elle realizes the pool boy is gay. She uses ex-boyfriend Warner’s ignorance of fashion to prove her point:

Elle: “What kind of shoes am I wearing?”

Warner: “Black ones.”

My point is that she knew Warner wouldn’t know the designer of her shoes, and she didn’t try to make him understand.

Women don’t dress to impress men. If they did, all that effort and money would be completely wasted on their ignorance of fashion.

In Legally Blonde, Elle wins the case by noting that a male witness knows too much about fashion.

Sorry guys, but you know it’s true. No, instead, women dress for each other.


The Man Repeller

The undisputed queen of this movement is Leandra Medine, The Man Repeller herself.  According to, her unconventional fashion blog gets over a million page views each month and has developed quite the following.

Started in April 2010, Man Repeller is about good fashion, says Medine.  The fact that many of the looks she highlights on her blog are “man repelling” is simply a byproduct, but one Medine has mined.

The Man Repeller herself has been quoted saying: “Good fashion is about pleasing women, not men, so as it happens, the trends that we love, men hate. And that is fantastic.”

And there you have it: The CliffsNotes version of what Man Repeller is all about.

Through her tongue-in-cheek blog, Medine promotes harem pants, overalls and layers upon layers upon layers.

She has a distinct look, which is part of the reason so many young women think she’s great. She fearlessly stands out amidst a crowded and sometimes monotonous fashion blogosphere.


Fashion versus flirtation

But the whole idea of “man repelling” is nothing new. This is just the first time someone has put a (copyrighted) label on it.

Women and girls have been dressing to impress each other without much regard for what guys think for ages. For many, it’s a choice between fashion and flirtation.

Spoiler alert: Most of the time, fashion wins.

Kelsey Curran, a psychology major at Southern Methodist University, loves to keep up with the fashion world.

“I look at the latest trends all the time,” she says.  “I like seeing how they change from season to season, and even from month to month.”

She says it’s more fun to dress for her female friends because “they appreciate clothing more.”

SMU student Katie Broderick agrees. She cares about other girls’ opinions on what she wears, partly because she feels that at SMU “everyone is really well-dressed,” even “overdressed.”

But don’t think she’s complaining. “It’s fun to see everyone dressing well,” Broderick says.

Broderick pays attention to fashion trends, but doesn’t “live or die” by them. She dresses based on her mood and how that fits with what other people are wearing.

A self-professed lover of blousy tops and cape tanks, Broderick says she cares what guys think about how she dresses, “but only to a certain extent because a lot of times boys don’t understand a lot of what girls wear.”

“I would never ask a guy friend if he thought my outfit was cute,” she adds. So mens’ opinions matter, but really not that much.


The male perspective

Sorry guys, but you just don’t get it.

Fortunately for many men, they aren’t trying to. Most of the men I spoke with for this story are admittedly ignorant about the fashion trends the women around them follow — and they are fine with that.

SMU senior Peter Diaz said that other than Tory Burch, whose accessories practically litter campus, he cannot identify any women’s designers.

In addition,  Diaz says he doesn’t much care or notice whether young women on campus are dressed fashionably “as long as the girls look good.”

Other men I spoke with voiced an appreciation for high style when they saw it.

For instance, when I showed Joe Cooper, a recent SMU alum, a look from rock star designer Alexander McQueen’s delicately futuristic fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection, Cooper said it reminded him of Lady Gaga.

“I really happen to like her ‘I don’t give a shit’ style.”

Other men I interviewed said they find high-fashion looks, well, repellant.

Sophomore Ryan Writt suggests, “Leave Ke$ha to Ke$ha and Lady Gaga to Lady Gaga. Don’t try to implement those styles into your daily style. Neither one of them are dating guys and neither will you.”

A little harsh? Definitely. But you have to appreciate his honesty.

College guys are expected to have opinions like Writt’s, leaving fashionable girls unfazed.

The great thing about young women who follow the Man Repeller’s lead is that they already know men don’t appreciate what they are wearing, but they don’t care. Instead, they embrace the idea and use it as a source of power and inspiration.

I asked Curran what she thinks of when she hears the term “Man Repeller.” Her response?

“I think of style icon. Fashion innovator. Dressing for girls. Fashion forward.”

And that pretty much sums it up.







Leave a comment | Posted in Articles

New Fashion Media minor brings Fashion Photography course to SMU

By Laura Murphy

Southern Methodist University student Kellie Spano never imagined she’d be producing and directing an entire fashion photo shoot, let alone photographing fashion models. Yet that is exactly what she found herself doing for the past three months.

Spano is part of the new Fashion Photography class, which gives students real-world experience with the various aspects of the fashion photography industry.

“The whole class is pretty great. My favorite part of the class is probably just the shooting — taking photographs,” she says.

For SMU Fashion Media minors, Fashion Photography is one of the three courses they can choose – along with Fashion Journalism and Fashion Public Relations & Promotions – to satisfy the degree’s capstone requirement. According to the Meadows website, the year-old minor is designed for students who wish to incorporate an interest in fashion into their major coursework.

The course, which was offered for the first time this semester, has been popular with both Fashion Media students and art or photography students with an interest in fashion, says course instructor Misty Keasler.

Keasler runs her own Dallas-based photo studio when she’s not teaching class.  She believes photography is a crucial element of the fashion world because that is how most of us learn about fashion – through images.  Only a select few individuals have the opportunity to attend Fashion Week in New York or Paris each year.  Most of us check out the new looks online or in our favorite magazines.

Fashion Photography is an advanced photography course so students should have an understanding of the camera prior to taking the class.  And as a capstone, the course is very hands-on.  Students work independently on four assignments during the semester.

“So much of fashion photography is about creating fantasy, creating a world,” Keasler says. “So, the students are really on a trajectory from the very beginning of the course to create two shoots toward the end of the semester where they are fully producing the shoots.”

SMU junior and Fashion Media minor Julie Smith chose the Fashion Photography course in order to fulfill her capstone requirement. Having completed the Introduction to Photography course last semester, Smith wanted to continue developing her photography skills and the Fashion Photography course seemed like a unique opportunity.

“There’s not another course like it,” Smith says. “It was such a different class than any sort of classes at SMU.”

Although Spano is partial to documentary photography, the Studio Art major decided to take the Fashion Photography course because it was out of her element. She thought the course would be a great opportunity to broaden her horizons in the medium.

“Fashion photography is very glamorous and like going to a different world and making someone believe something that isn’t necessarily real,” Spano says. “That interested me because I had never done it before.”

Aside from the three-hour course

Final photo by Kate Egan for Fashion Photography course.

commitment, students should be prepared to devote a lot of time and effort toward shooting assignments outside of class.“It feels like you’re interning, not like you’re in a class,” Smith says.

The course covers various aspects of working in fashion photography, including styling a shoot, building a concept, hair and makeup, working with an art director and production. Students learn the basics of shooting outside with natural and supplemental light as well as studio lighting.

Throughout the semester various guest speakers, ranging from art directors to stylists, come and talk to the class about different aspects of the fashion world, Smith says.

“You see all parts of the industry, not just fashion photography.”

Leave a comment | Posted in Articles