Press days are bizarre social occasions. Once private industry affairs, today invites come laden with handles and hashtags, rsvp addresses splashed across social media.
Held for fashion editors, freelance stylists and the wannnabe rest, they exist to allow for IRL inspection of pieces so far only seen for a split second from afar on a catwalk or as a pixelated image on a screen. They’re a chance to put a face to a name, to meet new names and faces, and at their most effective to build proper professional relationships.
They’re also a lot of hard work, both for the small talk shy attendees hoping to be inspired for a new shoot or written feature (on occasion there can be upward of six a day), and the PR’s who put in the hours to ensure a successful event for the agency and its respective clients.
“As an ex-fashion editor I was very bored of the concept of a ‘press day’, so in general I try and plan something that at least I’ll enjoy,” asserts Rich Evans, director of communications agency Rich London.
“For the last four or five seasons we have thrown a party to compliment our press events, but as with the nature of PR, we felt it was time to reinvent what we were doing and keep it fresh. We wanted to flip our press event completely to show some diversity in what Rich London can offer.”
This season then, Rich London is presenting its AW16 collections alongside an exhibition of vintage samples, archive photography and nostalgic campaign imagery, while the vintage e-comm outlet Too Hot will be selling its wares on the side. And it’s open to the public too.
“The busiest media don’t have the time to get away from their desks and often juniors and assistants don’t really get much attention,” explains Evans of the issues with the current set up, “in this digital age it’s also so easy to view new collections online.” Which lacks the human interactions that can instigate the type of working relationship that sees a journo through a career, presumably.
“As we have grown as an agency we have developed a reputation for re-launching, redirecting and developing heritage brands,” Rich continues. “It’s important to me that our clients have longevity and relevance to today’s market; it’s also important that our clients fit our culture and what we are about.”
Today that translates as the likes of Fila, Schott NYC, Kappa and hummel, the bulk of which no doubt many have a history with, be it as an obsessive consumer or as the top prize of a childhood longing. “I wore Schott to raves as a teenager and to bars all through my twenties,” reflects Rich.
Such nostalgia is universal and perhaps undisputedly the king of contemporary marketing (how many sneakerheads can count on two hands the number of reissues dropped so far this year alone, amiright?), but with ‘Fashion Heritage’ the agency is bringing the best of #TBT Tumblr to east London. “The internet is a window to the past,” suggests Evans, “Understanding why punks wore bomber jackets and why bomber jackets are so popular today is a fascinating thing. Most fashion has become throwaway but certain brands have been at the forefront of so many youth movements.”
Overused in the last decade, the term ‘heritage’ gets thrown around a bunch in commercial scenarios, but bestowed as the moniker for this project, it resonates with the respective brands. Likewise the output of Too Hot.
Serving up Burberry, Stone Island and Benetton, the latter’s gatecrashing came about as a result of mutual friends says Rich. “We wanted to showcase some heritage brands other than our own clients. There is a new generation of people selling 90’s designer and sportswear and although not the biggest, Too Hot, in my opinion, is the best presented.”
‘Fashion Heritage’ opens tomorrow – 29th April – at Protein Studios, 31 New Inn Yard, from 10-6.
Image via Rich London