Interviewed by Rick Weaver
If it’s true for a fashion writer that you always remember the first shoe design that compelled you to tell the world about it, then it follows naturally you would want to talk to someone from that company who can provide more insight into the inspiration behind the designer’s vision. Indeed, to that end, I caught up with Alexandra Kotsias, an emerging PR Star in London for Rupert Sanderson, who shared an insider’s look at the London fashion scene and her thrills of being able to work with highly successful design talent. Ever professional and super friendly, Alexandra also shared tips for others who might be interested in a career in fashion PR.
WM: So, you are a very talented Public Relations Manager for one of the hottest footwear designers, Rupert Sanderson. When did you realize you could make your passion your career?
AK: To be completely honest, I didn’t quite realize I had a passion for shoes until I started working for Rupert. I actually didn’t own a pair of heels until I left university and got my first job as a junior at a fashion PR company! Now I own about 50 pairs and I couldn’t live without them! I suppose I have always had a massive interest in fashion ever since I was little so I knew at some point I would work in the industry.
WM: Your schedule is very hectic. Can you tell us what your day is like during a fashion week in London or Paris? What energizes you the most to keep you going?
AK: Both London and Paris fashion weeks are the busiest for me. During London fashion week (LFW) my time is divided up between coming into the office to do all the send outs and see everything is running smoothly and going to the ready to wear shows. In the evening there are always loads of parties going on so I try to make a stop off at all the ones in central London… the days and nights are long and I usually need a few days to recover after LFW, but it’s totally worth it. Same kind of schedule for Paris fashion week, although my days are spent meeting press, showing them our new collection from the Paris showroom as opposed to shows and office work. I always make time for the Karl Lagerfeld show – Rupert designs the shoes for him. The evenings are usually spent with lots of champagne in hand! Fashion weeks are quite exhausting as I’m sure anyone in the industry will tell you. But for me, the buzz of meeting loads of new people, discovering new design talent and trends, and of course, being able to showcase Rupert’s new collection to all the press, really keeps me going.
WM: How do you find inspiration to write press releases for a new Rupert Sanderson style: is there a type of woman you are targeting? Who is the Rupert Sanderson woman?
AK: Rupert designs shoes for women who are not slaves to trends or women wanting something for one season only to throw it away the next. He designs items of worth and of substance and the women who wear his shoes are exactly the same. I always try to keep that in mind when writing releases. It’s not about the ‘It’ shoe, or the ‘It’ celebrity. Generally the shoes speak for themselves, and Rupert is always clear about his inspirations to me which I try to get across in all press releases.
WM: You are wearing a pair of Rupert Sanderson’s in your photo? What do YOU like most about the ones you picked?
AK: These patent/PVC booties are the awesome Piccadilly from Autumn/Winter 2008. They are probably the most incredible boots I have ever seen in my life. They have a massive 120mm heel with a concealed platform so they’re super comfortable. They also have an ingenious PVC outer layer which is great for living in rainy London! Press still calls this boot out for shoots even though it’s 2 seasons old. Karl Lagerfeld fell in love with them too (hence Rupert’s AW09 collection for him).
WM: Do you travel much for work? What is the most interesting place you’ve ever been?
AK: I don’t actually travel that much. I mean I travel to Paris a fair amount, but it’s always the same thing. I found it really interesting visiting Rupert’s Italian factory. The factory lies in the sleepy hills of Tredozio, just outside of Bologna. It has the most gorgeous Art Deco interior and the factory itself is very true to the tradition of Italian shoe-making factories. The scenery in which the factory is set is breathtaking and is a refreshing change from the busy London streets of Mayfair where our office and showroom are based. It’s fascinating to see how the shoes are cut, stitched, lasted and completed and I feel really privileged to know how it all works. We have a store opening in Hong Kong in April 2010. I’m MASSIVELY looking forward to visiting the city again. It’s such an exciting place to be.
WM: What can the Women’s Mafia make happen for you?
AK: I would love for your readers to visit www.rupertsanderson.com to learn more about the British Accessory Designer of the Year and to see if there is a style they would like to buy online.
WM: What is the wildest or funniest thing that you have experienced working during fashion week or otherwise at a fashion event?
AK: Breaking the rules and smoking indoors with Kate Moss and Daphne Guinness was rather fun at the Another Magazine Party during London Fashion Week last February. Being shouted at by fur protesters in Paris whilst be photographed leaving the Karl Lagerfeld show in October was hilarious – I felt like a true celeb. Honestly.
WM: What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing a career like yours?
AK: The best advice I would give someone who wants to get into fashion PR, is to start early. I don’t mean to give up studies or anything, but do as many work placements and internships as you can whilst you’re still at college and university. I started doing work placements at various fashion magazines and PR’s when I was 18 and continued them every Easter, Christmas and summer break I had until I left university. By the time I finished my degree, I had a good lot of work experience on my CV and it was relatively easy to get my first job.