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WORKING IN FASHION PR
AN INTERVIEW WITH MIKEY DALE ABOUT HIS JOB AS A SENIOR PRESS OFFICER
After the whirlwind that was ‘London Collections: Men’ in January of this year, I caught up with Mikey Dale, Senior Press Officer for River Island, member of the illustrious Sartorial 7 and all round nice chap. We gain an insight into the world of menswear PR with tips and advice for those who inspire to work in this industry.
How did you get into the industry?
"I started out in retail and personal shopping to begin with, and that is where I first began working with the Press and dealing with VIP’s and Stylists. To be honest, at the time I didn’t even have a notion of what PR involved! A friend recommended I try my hand at it and helped me land my first junior role with Ozwald Boateng. Things just seemed to naturally progress from there."
What does your day-to-day involve?
"No two days are the same. It depends on the time of year and what we have going on. First and foremost my main aim is to maintain strong brand relationships with the press and ultimately ensure that River Island remains one of the biggest players on the high street for Menswear. Day to day I have to juggle a number of projects and ensure they run smoothly; be it photo shoots, press days or launch parties. I’m also involved in the creative aspects too which is fun; mainly styling and art direction for a lot of our photo and video work. There’s always something keeping me out of trouble."
What tips would you give to someone looking to get into the industry?
"I think that if you want it badly enough you won’t give up, it is tough and you need to be prepared to put in some seriously hard work. Some people expect an employer to just turn up at their door with their dream job the moment they graduate but it’s just not like that. The first couple of years certainly sort the wheat from the chaff; you’ll either flourish or want to get out of it forever! Be prepared to do a lot for nothing first of all, your big break will come eventually."
How did you get involved with the Sartorial 7?
"I just got a phone call from Terry one day (founder) saying he wanted to start a collective of like-minded people to represent British menswear and I was intrigued by the offer. We’ve all known each other for a while through working in the industry so we all got on straight away and the chemistry really works. It’s great to be able to show people that normal guys can pay attention to their looks without being tarred with the dreaded ‘metrosexual’ brush. It’s not all about overly plucked eyebrows and deep v-necks."
What's been your favourite collaboration project to date?
"It’s really tough to try and narrow it down to just one as we’ve had a lot of fun doing every one of them. It doesn’t feel like work, it’s just like another day out with the lads. Hackett, of course, was excellent. Can’t wait for it to drop. I'm VERY excited about the next one but not sure that I can talk about it yet. Watch this space. The Design Forum collaborations at River Island have been amazing projects to work on too. Joseph Turvey is an inspiration and he’s going to go far I’m sure, I’m already eyeing up the bomber he designed for us! I can’t wait to announce the next one we have lined up."
Have you got many exciting projects in your calendar for 2014?
"As I mentioned before, there’s a big S7 shoot on the cards for April/May time, all of which will be revealed very soon. This project is particularly close to my heart so I’m very excited. Then there’s the next River Island Design Forum collaboration. Judging by the collection samples I’ve seen so far it’s clear that we’re working with another outstanding talent. And of course - 'London Collections: Men'. Our Fashion Film events are getting bigger and better each time with some seriously heavyweight contributors getting on-board. It's amazing to see how these initiatives have grown since their inception when I first joined RI."