Annabelle Azadé is the first PR I have come across who specialises in representing innovative and sustainable fashion designers. A bit of a renaissance woman, Azadé has done it all. Not only is she an established fashion journalist with a strong PR background, she once worked for Marie Saeki PR in New York, she is also the CEO of Wear the Future, a fashion tech PR agency.
Launched in 2017, Azadé, cleverly, decided to not have a physical office but instead exist just online. It was a decision that has given her the freedom to commit to other work. On this, she confessed, “My agency is based online because I travel a lot. I’m mostly in Paris but I also work in London”. When it comes to her clients, she was keen to keep some of them hush-hush, but I do have it on good authority that Azadé has worked with the likes of Danit Peleg and Julia Koerner.
Excited to get to know someone who proudly represents international visionary designers with an environmentally-friendly ethos, I recently had a tête-à-tête with Azadé to find out how she is helping leverage the voice of responsible artisans, wanting to make a change in the fashion industry.
How long has your PR company been running?
I have been doing fashion consulting and journalism for more than 7 years on and off with fashion journalism. I started interning for Marie Saeki PR in New York back in 2012 and discovered the world of PR with her. Marie is a French-American Fashion expert, and I was fortunate enough to explore the world of NY fashion with her, from representing brands at Bergdorf Goodman to Henri Bendel, from gifting Anna Wintour to assisting the best fashion show of NYFW. It gave me a great insight into this industry works, and since then I thought to myself I’d love to represent designers one day… But I needed more contacts and an ‘angle’.
What drove you to start a fashion pr company specialising in fashion tech?
Right after my internship with Marie Saeki, I was offered a job in Tel Aviv to be a High Tech TV anchor. I knew little about high tech but thought to myself that Israel is the start-up nation and as being from Jewish ancestors, living in Israel was always on my mind. I rapidly started growing a considerable interest for anything related to technologies, and Israel is a fantastic country for designers too, I connected with a lot of Fashion Tech designers and going to Fashion Tech events. I started writing a lot about new technologies and although we were only at the get-go – this was in 2013! – there was already a lot going on, such as LED, 3D printing, etc.
You represent up and coming fashion tech designers is there anyone we should keep our eye on?
Presently I am working with Rêve de Rive, Horizon Athletic, Coco Veve and Marita Moreno.
Having worked with the likes of Danit Peleg and Julia Koerner, what think makes a good fashion tech designer great?
Any good Fashion Tech designer will thrive in both Arts and Science. I think both intricate very much, especially when it comes to sustainability. This is why crafting a brand is very hard in the Fashion Tech industry; not only your product needs to be visually attractive, but it must be sturdy and resistant to endure daily lives of the people who will wear it. It is tough, and designers have to know it might take several prototypes to be achieved. While fast fashion is killing the quintessence of temporality, one needs to remember fashion is an art. And art takes time to craft. There is no shame in taking a year to create the piece you want! If this can help you stand out of the crowd, it definitely is worth it. Time is an ally when it comes to Fashion Tech.
“Any good Fashion Tech designer will thrive in both Arts and Science. I think both intricate very much, especially when it comes to sustainability.”
PR is considered an integral part of a brand business plan, how are you finding the fashion medias response to your fashion tech clients?
As I have been a journalist for more than ten years and lived in Bangkok, Tel Aviv, London, New York, Paris and Los Angeles, I am fortunate enough to have a pretty extensive network in the fashion media industry.
As the press industry is radically changing (more than 4,000 media disappeared in the US over the past ten years), I do believe media outlets still have a crucial role in the fashion industry because they are the highest point of credibility for endorsements. Whether Julia Daviy being featured in WWD, Marita Moreno in Basic or Elvis & Kresse in Hello!, magazines features are like a door that opens for many opportunities: speaking engagements, stores, funds. Designers should definitely focus on media. As being a writer, I am very often solicited by brands – however, I only write about the ones that carry a message, as in giving back to the community.
With a PR company, it is vital to get your designers to work out there, seen. Have there been any celebrities who have worn your designers?
Yes! Simone Missick, a Marvel Actress, wore one of the designers for the AFI Festival last year. Billboard-nominated singer wore Haus of Pook jackets. We have a collaboration confirmed with the Emmy’s for the gifting bag.
How do you decide which brands to work with?
As collaboration is a conversation, we usually start talking about vision and ambitions. Each designer is different, and it is essential to start working on goals as soon as we start working together.
“I usually go for under-the-radar visionary designers who have a strong focus on sustainability. “
I usually go for under-the-radar visionary designers who have a strong focus on sustainability. These are the artists I have been writing for a while in the media, so I am fortunate enough to know the audience already!
What advice would you give to those interested in working with you?
It is crucial to have at least three collections and possibly an accessory capsule.
What are some essential things you’ve learned while running your own business?
Having been a correspondent journalist for ten years, I know that discipline is vital. I would say that it does not apply to all the people I’ve met to work by yourself across the world. You need to be 100% determined and be clear with your goals.
Who inspires you the most?
Agnès B is my main inspiration. She is a French designer who started being an artist and eventually grew her industry so much that she has now a line for men, women, kids, but also a home decoration line and has an artist residency and gallery in Paris. She also co-curates a vinyl festival in Paris. Agnès B believes in messages and voices. I think fashion should only be about what you communicate, as long as the designs are neat. Oh, and she also has a production company and is a director. She is inspirational because she doesn’t fit any criteria.
What is your favourite thing about what you do
with people and listening to their stories. We all have a specific journey and learning about how people react to different episodes in their lives is so inspirational.
What are some of your future plans with your business?
I would love to create a way to interconnect Fashion Tech designers; maybe a residency like a Design House. Optionally with a pool and lots of antique ! That would be awesome 🙂 I am also very excited to have been conveyed by Nolcha Shows to curate a show this season at the NYFW.
If you had to give a piece of advice to anyone looking to go into fashion tech PR, what would it be?
As being a writer for so long, I would say that you make your own reality as long as you have the will.
If you would like the opportunity to meet Annabelle Azadé, she is going to be speaking at the FIT on 4th September 2019 for Fashion Innovation ahead of NYFW.