Tag Archives: marketing

Prue Chilcott: The influential voice behind Melbourne’s iconic Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival

There are an endless amount of misconceptions about the infamous fashion industry. It is perceived to be a never ending stampede of exquisitely dressed people who are willing to trample anyone in their way in order to get their dream job. Luckily for those hoping to join the chaos, according to Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival’s digital marketing executive, Prue Chilcott, it’s not nearly anything like what we see in films, and for the first time, the reality is a lot better than what we thought.

Imagine you have the power to speak on behalf of a major organisation that not only hosts a nationally renowned fashion festival, but an organisation that heavily influences the Australian fashion industry. You would have a dramatic influence over a variety of people simply through social media. The new age of fashion marketing has changed the way a digital society stays in the know. Now, with the touch of a ‘share’ button, anyone can send a photo viral, revolutionising traditional fashion media, tripling the success and awareness of an event. Anyone can do it, but not everyone can utilise the skills of traditional marketing strategies and combine them with social media to create an influence that speaks to different audiences on different levels. In the case of VAMFF, Prue Chilcott is the person who has this power.

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Firstly, Prue presents herself in an incredibly friendly light. She radiates a genuine nature and has an admirable aura of confidence. Dressed comfortably but looking ever so stylish, she proves that she most definitely is “cool enough” to be the voice of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, even on a freezing Melbourne morning when you would rather be in bed sleeping, and not at work in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD. For aspiring public relations students, take note of Prue Chilcott, who has come a long way in her career in a short time.

Prue began this stage of her career with VAMFF in November 2014, once she returned to work from maternity leave. Her job as the digital marketing executive leaves her responsible for all online communications involving VAMFF, including all social media, the VAMFF website, emails, and their blog, In Detail, which she helped to launch at the end of 2014. Prue is also a features writer for the acclaimed Australian blog, Melbourne Girl. When not at work she is busy enjoying motherhood and helping her husband with the financial side to his business. Is there anything that Prue isn’t doing?

If there is one thing that Prue says gets her through her busy days, it is the passion that she has for her work: “If you’re driven by doing what you love then it’s not work”, she said. “I really love working here, I love writing for Melbourne Girl, I love being a mum and doing simple things like making dinner every night and reading a magazine. I don’t want to miss out on any of those things”. The fear of missing out is proving to work for this busy Melbourne mum, as she runs through her daily routine of waking up at 5:30am to write before her baby wakes up, she makes it seem almost too easy to be able to balance a family life and a successful career in the Australian fashion industry. With students hoping to get into the same industry, Prue makes it obvious that the best way to find your self in her shoes in the future is to work hard and consistently: “[The fashion industry] It’s really competitive, no one is going to tell you that anyone who works in fashion just waltzed in”. Emphasising the importance of nailing the hard skills of marketing and public relations, Prue recommends that you always follow your passions, but keep in mind that it’s not always possible to get the job you want straight away. Prue got into public relations work through an internship as a receptionist at a PR agency following her studies, and then eventually got promoted to a PR assistant “it’s a round about way of getting there, but if you have an ultimate goal, scrabble your way to get there!”

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Prue graduated from Monash University in 2009 and since then she has worked for some highly reputable companies in their PR and marketing departments, such as The Style Counsel, the Coles group, and George Patterson Y&R. Within these roles, Prue managed to expand her experience in the broad marketing communications industry. Following in her example, she advises that students should “never think that they are too good to do anything”, after all, it was these particular experiences outside of the fashion industry that got her to her position as VAMFF’s digital marketing executive.

Although fashion communications is competitive, judging by Prue’s personality and experience, our impressions of the unbearably chaotic fashion industry are far from the truth… “There’s a preconceived notion that it’s a fluffy industry, but some of the smartest and savviest people that I’ve ever worked with have been in the fashion industry”.

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It’s important that students remember that any progress within marcoms is progress towards your ultimate career goal; Prue advises that you “find passion in what you’re doing… If you’re marketing electrical tools, make them the best goddamn electrical tools the world has ever seen”. As a graduate working for the Coles group, Prue was apart of the product development department, and during her first week, she had to cook around eighty different sausages, testing and preparing for Coles to launch a new brand of sausages… “I had never really cooked before because I had been living at home, and I thought ‘I did not go to university for five years to be cooking 80 sausages!’”

All of Prue’s hard work has brought her far in her six-year career, and now Prue continues to use her traditional marketing skills to bring the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival to life in the months between the main events. She continues to write for Melbourne Girl and juggle all of this work with a family, and she manages well, after all she does “have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé”.

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Photos courtesy of VAMFF’s official Pinterest, Instagram, and Melbourne Central.

A special thanks to Prue Chilcott for her time and for being so supportive and helpful, and for managing to inspire and motivate me and anyone looking to go down the fashion marketing path!

“Imitation is the highest form of flattery”

We all know that when it comes to fashion, designers all over the world draw inspiration from each other, further exposing amazing pieces of clothing, jewellery and accessories to the fashion moguls of the world. Although some pieces are dramatically changed and adapted into the iconic signatures of each designer and fashion house, some stay very true to their original concept and design. This type of imitation within the fashion industry is completely acceptable is recognised as a smart marketing scheme, making high statement fashion pieces affordable for all different types of people.

Imitation within the fashion industry is absolutely adequate. However, there are many times where copying is not reasonable, making imitation not only annoying but extremely generic and potentially destructive to trends and style. To gain inspiration from someone’s outfit is fine. To completely take their whole look and use it as your own, is not.

At the moment, this form of imitation has been causing me much distress (this is not an overreaction) only for the reason that you cannot go out without looking the same as everyone else. My favourite quote, which is clearly stated at the top of my blog is “People shouldn’t succumb to trend, they should interpret trend”. To put it simply, just because an accessory, type of jacket, pant or shoe is popular or “in style” it doesn’t mean that you should go out of your way to have it. Fashion is all about standing out and expressing who you are through your outfit. It is a way to express your passions, your emotions and your personal outlook on things without having to say a word. Take a printed top as an example; Is the top printed with the name and logo of your favourite band? Or have you bought a Nirvana t-shirt without knowing who Kurt Cobain is? Are you wearing the same pair of jeans as the three other girls (or boys) standing in front of you in the line to the counter while purchasing the leather sleeved cardigan that every Cara, Miranda and Poppy are wearing?

Naturally, I shouldn’t be the person making decisions for you, and if you love those jeans, who am I to stop you from purchasing them? The point is, do not buy them just because everyone else has them. Imitating someone’s style is almost as bad as cutting and pasting your essay and trying to pass it off as your own. Not only is it tacky, but it is also annoying for the people who genuinely love that item of clothing or accessory!

I do not know if it is just me, but I like to go out wearing my favourite outfit, knowing that I put it together and that I was able to choose every piece that I am wearing in order to create the look that I am going for. Individuality is key to making fashion work for you, and succumbing to trend is the perfect way to hide who you are and your singularity.