As promised, I’m bringing more Breaking into Fashion segments, featuring fabulous people from behind the scenes!
There are a good number of game changing men and women making moves at some of the biggest entities in the fashion industry. One such power player is Kilee Hughes, Public Relations Director for online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter:
Though the University of Southern California graduate is now responsible for spearheading Net-A-Porter’s integrated communications campaigns, she actually had no idea what she wanted to do when growing up. She said, “During my college years I was a full-time student/athlete, so despite taking courses in Communications, I was genuinely stumped with my career direction. I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do until my senior year when I was interning at a talent agency and a former boss suggested I move to New York City. With little knowledge of the city and having never visited, I made plans to move within a month and truly hit the ground running.”
Her drive landed her jobs in PR and marketing for L’Oréal, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike, and Luxottica. She said, “Fast forward over a decade later, and I’m living and working in the same field I started in, but having worked in fashion, beauty, sports and entertainment I’ve certainly mixed it up a bit. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure how or why I made my way into the field of PR, but I’m content with my career path and the decisions that I’ve made along the way.”
If you’d like to break into the glamorous world of PR, she says, “Be patient. If you possess a certain skill or knowledge, make sure you finesse it so that you can stand out amongst your peers. Learn how to network and get entry-level fashion jobs after graduation.” She adds, “To become a publicist, a formal education and training is important, but not required. There are courses and programs that can teach the basics, but a degree always helps. ”
In terms of advice for women of color, she offers, “Always keep an open mind, always strive to want more, but not from a materialistic point of view.”
“…Live within your means. Own the fact that we have to go it alone and it’s always important to have a mentor or a good group of friends who you can [get feedback from]. Remain grounded and motivated. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t narrow your scope of mentors because of the color of your skin, but look to identify and find a connection based on their experience, background, and common interests. Always remain open.”
She added, “Presentability is important. Do your leg work. Be quick to listen and slow to speak. You only have one opportunity to make a first impression.” What amazing advice!
In closing, she says, “Don’t take yourself too seriously. The industry is small and people resurface, so always be kind.” I couldn’t agree more.
I hope that was helpful to you aspiring publicists out there!
What did you think of this Breaking into Fashion interview?
Images by Phoebe Vickers
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