Fashion Photography, Some History

Magazines such as Allure, Vogue and Vanity Fair are known to display some of the best fashion photography that you will ever come across. Photography is a way of showcasing models wearing the trends in clothes, jewelry, sunglasses, hairstyles, necklaces, shoes and other items. The first known record of fashion photography was the portfolio of the Countess de Castiglione, Virginia Oldoini in 1856. The world’s first fashion photographer was Adolphe Braun, as he was the one responsible for shooting the first fashion model. Spark and color were added to fashion magazines once halftone printing was introduced to the fashion photography industry. The first magazines to make use of fashion photography were the French magazines Les Mode and La Mode Practique.

At first, fashion photography consisted of staging the shoots in natural environments using natural poses. Baron Adolf de Meyer was the person who first developed and adopted this practice. In the first part of the 20the century, the magazines that were the leaders were Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. The moguls of the industry still pay tribute to the likes of Yva, Edward Steichen and Cecil Beaton, and George Hoyningen Huene. These were the individuals who help to establish fashion photography in Europe. Irving Penn, Richard Avedon and Martin Munkacsi made significant contributions after World War II.

A majority of the artists of earlier times deserted their adopted forms, and took on a more independent and natural style. 1936 was the year that models were first photographed at the beach in different poses, by Martin Munkacsi. After World War II, fashion photography became quite popular among young men who loved to hold a camera in their hands, and among young women who had the ideal body type of a fashion model. Today, fashion photography has evolved into a life of its own. Models and photographers are now seen as international celebrities, and enjoy the lifestyle of the rich and glamorous. But make no mistake this it is no easier for the photographer then it is the models, only a small percentage of those trying to make it actually succeed.

Fashion can be showcased in various avenues. Some of these well appreciated and well paid avenues include celebrity portraiture, art photography and fashion advertising. Fashion moguls such as agent Gloria Cappelletti and photo editor Clio McNicholl both agree that the fashion photography industry is quickly evolving.

For anyone wanting to become a fashion photographer it is important to keep up on trends and aesthetics of the industry. Study the images in the top fashion publications and try to understand the images and what attracts editors to them. Its interesting to look back at some of the really great photographers from a few decades ago. Interesting that some of the fashion photographers appear to have disappeared. The ones still shooting are the ones that accept change and reinvent their style all the time, fashion photography can become dated almost as quickly as the fashions they showcase.

As a professional photographer, apart from your camera, the most important tool that you can own is your portfolio. Your portfolio is actually your gateway to the industry. There are certain guidelines that you must follow when submitting your portfolio to a fashion editor. Once you are able to follow these guidelines correctly, you will on your way to becoming one of the world’s renowned fashion photographers.

Be Bold, Bright and a Cut Above – Tips to Style Your Way Into Fashion News

Fashion. It’s a competitive game. And if the likes of Vogue’s Anna Wintour are anything to go by, it can be incredibly daunting for those just starting out and doing their own PR.

Yet, the glossy mags are ultimately where we want to be seen.

So how do you get fashion editors to take notice of your label if you’re not the owner of an established brand like Sass and Bide or Ksubi?

Editor of Australia’s Shop Till You Drop magazine, Justine Cullen says “do your research and think creatively”.

And if you’re pitching her a story…?

“Please make sure it’s not [a story] that ran in the magazine the month before, that you clearly haven’t read. Cringe. And target it. Sounds basic but I’m always deleting pitches sent for ‘your food and health pages’. Which we don’t have,” she says.

DIY PR guru, Amanda Fox of Dames and Divas says being eco-friendly, limited edition and one-of-a-kind, handcrafted from vintage silk kimonos helped her shoes stand out and get featured in the media.

“Their bright, bold colours definitely stand out which are reinforced with clean, clear, crisp professional product photography,” said Amanda.

Melbourne based, celebrity stylist Amber Renae agrees saying bold colours, heavy embellishments and a cut no-one has seen before gets a fashion editor’s attention. You also need to be persistent and proactively contact the media.

Producing key editorial pieces that might be a bit crazy to wear, specifically for PR purposes, in addition to your saleable line, also helps, she said.

And if you want to get your clothes to a celebrity – just contact their stylist “9 out of 10 times we’ll look at your look-book and product,” says Amber.

Here are PR Guru’s 10 tips on doing your own fashion PR:

1. Get your timing right – fashion titles work two to six months in advance, so make sure you’re pitching for the right season.

2. Read the magazines you want to get covered in, get to know their content and style and adapt your story pitch to suit them.

3. Look amazing; stand out. This is when attention to detail counts – make your media kit look as professional and beautiful as possible.

4. Tell the story behind your range/label and explain what makes it like no other, include a great press release in your media kit.

5. Check in with the media. Send in samples but don’t forget to follow up with a phone call and your story pitch. Only send releases to one member of staff at the same publication.

6. Gift your wares. Select a small number of celebrities that you think would be best suited to your product. Contact their publicists – look online or you can sometimes go through the publicity department of the media outlet or TV network they work for.

7. Invest in top quality, professional photography – the media may or may not use your images but it’s still important to have the best available photographs to ‘sell’ your product. Include 3 high quality low res JPG’s of your strongest products.

8. Don’t forget the details. Make sure your media kit contains all the retail and pricing information as well as your location, contact details and biography.

9. Love your product, wear it, promote it – take Allanah Hill as an example – she is always promoting her brand.

10. Get on the event scene and be seen. Never underestimate the power of meeting people at events. Plus use social media.

Fashion Designers: 5 Affordable and Alternative Ideas for Showcasing Your Fashion Collections!

The runways of NY Fashion Week are the pinnacle of all things glamorous and can turn fashion designers into industry darlings. However, it is also a very costly production and may not be the best place for a new designer to launch their line. As much as I love, love, love seeing shows during Fashion Week, I don’t recommend that new designers spend that kind of money to get their designs seen so early in their careers. This post will give you ideas for alternative ways to showcase your fashion line during Fashion Week (or any time of year!).

Putting together a Fashion Week runway show can be very expensive. It costs at least $30k to show at NY Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. You need to have proper funding to pay for the: space, models, hair, makeup, set design, lighting, photographers, videographers, plus the cost of your actual designs, among other things. In my opinion, new designers shouldn’t be doing runways shows until they are making enough money to sustain normal business activities plus the cost of putting together a Fashion Week Runway Shows.

Fashion Week Runway Shows are the best platform for established leaders in fashion innovation. There are over 100 shows in NY during Fashion Week and it’s hard for Fashion Editors and Buyers to make it to all of the well-known designer runway shows. If you are able to hold your fashion event close to where the actual runway shows are taking place, it makes it easier for editors and buyers to stop in and attend.

Wherever you decide to have your fashion show, be sure to have someone videotape it so you can post it on your website and blog (and so the fashion bloggers can do the same thing for you!). Live video-streaming is also an excellent option for your fans and clients who live out of town but still want to support you and “be a part” of your fashion show!

Here are a few ideas that can be used for a more cost-effective fashion presentation:

1. Do a fashion installation in a hotel suite. You can have models standing in the room that’s put together like a chic fashion shoot set wearing your most exciting and show-stopping designs for editors and buyers to walk around and see.

2. Throw a cocktail party at a popular local lounge that features a few models in your designs to launch your line. You can invite lots of friends, family, buyers, bloggers, local boutique owners and press to attend and you will also have some of the location’s regular foot traffic to rely on.

3. Are you an early-bird? Consider hosting a small invite-only breakfast buffet at a cute local restaurant where you can do a fashion show. Both women and men love free food and the fact that it comes with entertainment (your fashion show) is an added bonus for them!

4. Is there a great neighborhood garden, park or local museum that you could negotiate using as a space to showcase your designs?

5. Many colleges have fashion shows, especially around homecoming time. Could this be another way for you to get your designs seen?

Before They Were Brands – How Some Top Fashion Design Labels Got Their Start

They’re the must-have fashion design labels, the status brands that we just have to wear. But some labels and designers have become such a part of our fashion culture that it’s easy to forget that they weren’t always successful brands. At one point, the founders were fashion school students, stock boys or sales clerks. In fact, learning about how the designers got their start makes one admire them even more. Here, then, are some top fashion labels and the story of their humble beginnings.

Marc Jacobs. One of today’s top design celebrities, Marc Jacobs’ first job in fashion was as a stock boy at Charavari, an avant-garde clothing boutique in Manhattan. After graduating from high school, he went to fashion college, where he launched a line of hand-knit sweaters. His first job out of fashion school was at Perry Ellis, but he designed a grunge collection there that led to his dismissal. In 1986, with the help of financial backers, he designed his first collection bearing the Marc Jacobs label.

Kenneth Cole. Not many people realize that the full name of Kenneth Cole’s brand is “Kenneth Cole Productions.” Why is that? In 1982, the designer wanted to show his first line of shoes at Market Week at the New York Hilton, but couldn’t afford a hotel room or exhibit space. So instead, he parked a trailer two blocks from the hotel to sell his shoes. The only catch was that only production companies were granted permits to park trailers on the street. Not letting that stop him, he turned his shoe company into a film production company, shooting a documentary about his business and selling 40,000 pairs of shoes in the process.

Juicy Couture. The label that popularized the velour track suit was founded by fashion school grad Pamela Skaist-Levy and and Gela Nash-Taylor, wife of Duran Duran’s John Taylor. Believe it or not, their first product was maternity pants. After changing the brand’s focus to active wear, the brand continued to struggle until they sent a free track suit to Madonna with “Madge” emblazoned on it. The superstar was photographed wearing it in public, and Juicy Couture was on the map.

Vera Wang. She may be known for her elegant wedding gowns and costumes for figure skaters like Michelle Kwan, but Vera Wang actually started out as a figure skater as well. She competed at the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and was one of “Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd” that year. She failed to make the U.S. Olympic team and began a career in fashion journalism. She was a senior fashion editor for “Vogue” for 16 years, but left when she was turned down for the top job that Anna Wintour secured. She then became a design director at Ralph Lauren before striking out on her own.

Anna Sui. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Anna Sui loved fashion as a little girl, clipping out fashion magazine pages for her scrapbook. After attending fashion college, she worked for various junior sportswear companies by day, and designing her own clothing by night, eventually launching her own label out of her tiny New York apartment.

Ralph Lauren. Born Ralph Lifshitz, the designer’s first foray into fashion was selling neckties to his fellow classmates at his Talmudical academy. After serving in the U.S. Army, he worked for Brooks Brothers as a sales clerk. In 1967, he became an entrepreneur and opened a necktie store where he sold various labels, including his own, which he called “Polo.” He soon introduced men’s and women’s suits to his line, and eventually gained international recognition when he designed the clothes for the Robert Redford movie, “The Great Gatsby.”

These brands may have started out small, but they became fashion giants. And that’s inspiration indeed for anyone wanting to break into fashion design.