London Fashion Week is an esteemed event that inspires many across the globe with it’s intricate sets and flawless designs. For most of us, just thinking about the organisational efforts that go on behind the scenes is enough to give us a headache. However, this is not the case for our dedicated PR manager Katie Braden, who is equipped with creative flare, incredible organisation skills and a passion for getting stuck in.
Starting her working life as a professional dancer, Katie was unsatisfied in the industry and moved swiftly into PR where she found her calling in the hair and beauty industry. Working at a PR agency, Katie discovered her talent for giving brands the ability to influence mass audiences’ way of thinking and perceptions.
Katie began her freelance journey working with hair clients, finding that this was the area she excelled in. Working with brands who have significance for both customers and their stylists is something she feels especially passionate about. Her fantastic attitude has given her quite a name in the realm of PR. Her management of KeraStraight began three months after taking on its sister brand INNOluxe.
London Fashion Week was Katie’s next PR venture that would get KeraStraight’s name out in the world. We take a glimpse behind the scenes with Katie as she takes us on the whirlwind experience as a PR manager.
5:45am It’s Friday morning which means LFW has arrived, and I’ve woken up before my alarm. This my brains way of telling me that I haven’t slept properly and that I’m super nervous for the day ahead. I get up and take a second to run through every element of preparation I’ve been working on for the past two weeks. I make a few final notes on my iPhone of urgent points I need to chase up when I arrive at the venue, in order of priority.
6:30 In between checking our social media channels, last minute emails and missed calls, I throw on my usual uniform consisting of head to toe black. There is no time for eye makeup and my hand isn’t steady enough for winged eyeliner, so I throw on some tinted sunglasses and I’m ready to go!
7:30 The added stress of the tube wasn’t needed this morning, so I opt for an Uber, which faithfully gets me to the venue early. I sign in at reception of The Royal Society of Arts and venture downstairs where full carnage is taking place. There are builders everywhere and the intense sound of drilling alerts me that the set build is behind schedule. When I find the production team, they confirm my fears: we’re 45 minutes behind. One backstage area hasn’t been built yet whilst the other backstage area has no power. I run into the head stylists from Trevor Sorbie who’ve just arrived and are ready to get going. I help them haul their kit back up the stairs whilst I pretend we’re completely fine — a PR in panic is useless, the show must go on people!
8:15 Now I have two full hair teams held in reception with a full days’ worth of kit and no where to go. Heading up production on the Trevor Sorbie side, Danielle, and myself are utilising our extra time to split teams and brief everyone so we can hit the ground running. Builders are still hard at work downstairs, models are beginning to arrive, and the head stylists from the Trevor Sorbie art team are eager to get going.
I take advantage of being stuck in reception and check in on Instagram with a quick story introducing our followers to the day ahead.
8:30 Backstage is now open so I help to quickly stash the kit, seat the models and let the Trevor Sorbie team loose on prepping the first looks for Minki and Judy Wu. With a cramped backstage area, products are being painted thickly onto the model’s heads in every space we can fit them. Root Lift Spray and Ultimate Oil are key for both looks and I watch as each model’s hair is transformed to match the concepts.
The founder of KeraStraight, Jez, has just arrived so I wave to him over around 20 heads of hair then rush off to check all other areas are ok and ready to go, go, go.
9:15 By this point, I’ve given up on walking so as I quickly jog from one backstage area to the other. I run into my photographer, videographer and intern for the day. Following their arrival, I brief them on where we are and the plan for the day. After quickly packing up some gift bags for each backstage area and I take a few more images behind the scenes to post on social media later.
We’re missing two models for Minki’s presentation so I hunt down a cast director for an ETA.
10:40 The first presentations are now finally underway and I run into the Creative Head Magazine team. I give the team a tour of the backstage area and take them through the vaults to view each of the collection and hair concepts. Judy Wu’s concept and hair is incredible. Wu paired her structural collection with a minimalist set: the way the hair frames the face is gorgeous. Minki’s hair creation came to life on the phone at 11pm the night before so I’m both shocked but also super happy at how amazing the look has been executed. I walk through the venue whilst LIVE on Facebook so our followers can see in real time what we’re up to.
11:15 I take some time to upload the final looks of the morning to the press releases I’d prepped at the hair trials. I send them straight out to Beauty press — they’ll be hearing from me a lot today!
Whilst I have five minutes with my inbox I check up on last minute RSVPs, before venturing back into the vaults to check the teams and models are ready to go ahead with next looks.
12:30PM Both backstage areas are now reset with new casting lists on the walls, a new designer, and a new set of models: all stations are now ready to craft new concepts. In one area the Trevor Sorbie team are frantically creating hidden braids with Ekaterina’s ultra feminine, Shakespearean inspired look. Whilst in the other area, the team each have a Moisture Mist in hand to create the ultimate bed head look for Steven Tai. ‘Sleep Now, Work Later’ is sewn on the backs of shirts and I giggle to myself as that’s NEVER going to happen!
1:30 Backstage prep is fully underway. The Trevor Sorbie team has managed to smuggle two bags of food and drinks backstage so I’m taking a second to have a sneaky sip of Cola. Even though it is now a legal requirement to have food available for models backstage, no one else is allowed to eat it. Any food you bring in your self is considered contraband — work that one out!
2:30 Round two is kicking off, all models are in position and I head out to take some pictures to post on social media of the sets in action. These presentations are on schedule, by London Fashion Week’s prestigious standards. Each set works wonders in pulling in the crowds. There are so many people in each vault that I can’t even see the tops of the models heads. I decide to cut my losses for half an hour, find a perch and complete my second round of press outreach: Hi, it’s me again!
3:15 The crowds have eased a little and I’m able to do an uninterrupted walk through the venue and each presentation, all captured on Facebook LIVE, Instagram Stories and numerous social posts of course! #LFW @kerastraight @trevorsorbie
4:00 I take a member of press on a tour of backstage which is approximately five steps deep and ten steps wide: not really the glamorous working conditions that you’d imagine! I talk the press through the hair concept for each individual designer and explain how the fabulous KeraStraight products were used by the team. The first set of models begin to arrive for our final show of the day so I take a step back to make space for the Trevor Sorbie team to work their magic.
4:30 I take a moment to catch up with my team and look over the content we captured throughout the day. I discuss the look and feel for the edits that will happen once the last presentation is over, then I send them off to the backstage areas for one final chance to capture stylists in action. My mission is to capture action shots of KeraStraight products in hand but these are the hardest to take, especially without interrupting such a fast paced environment.
6:30 Crowds of influencers and press swarm back for the last presentation of the day — Charli Cohen. I capture my final videos and social media images before heading backstage to check in with the Trevor Sorbie team. After a round of hugs and a lot thank you’s I pack products with Trevor Sorbie’s Danielle. We pick up as many boxes as we can carry before saying our goodbyes and running the four minute journey back (or for the length of one Taylor Swift song according to Hannah, Trevor Sorbie’s digital guru) to the Covent Garden salon to stash away in her office.
7:45 I find refuge in a pub near Somerset House, enjoying a glass of wine, dauphinoise potatoes and mac & cheese. We spend the next fifteen minutes weighing up our chances of getting into an exclusive rooftop club across the road, with three huge bags of kit. Instead get the bus to Exmouth Market for another round with fellow LFWeekers.
2:30am Myself, my luggage and my trusty tinted sunglasses arrive home. Everything electrical is put on charge and my alarm is set for 8:00am for Saturday morning hardcore pitching. It’s true that 80% of LFW magic happens behind the scenes.
Eager for more backstage action and want to know what other members of our fabulous team got up to at London Fashion Week? Visit our blog here for an exclusive insight.