Fashion PR is perhaps the only branch of the industry that requires a strict uniform. At fashion week, you'll be able to spot the PR team immediately, as they're invariably the ones wearing all black and looking rather executive with headsets and iPads. The Communications Store is one of the most powerful agencies in London, working across fashion, beauty, lifestyle and VIP, and works with the biggest names on the global fashion stage such as Roksanda, Christopher Kane and Versace.
What it means to be a fashion PR professional has really changed since the agency launched 22 years ago, and so has how they dress. "When I started the company, I actually bought a pinstriped suit to try and be really corporate," explained Julietta Dexter, the founder of TCS. "When I was younger, I felt that I had to prove myself in that way and wear 'business' clothes. But now I feel much more comfortable to celebrate my femininity, and I wear beautiful dresses. I've definitely evolved as I've gotten older and dress more feminine in the workplace."
Not only has the working wardrobe changed, but so have the demands of the job. "We used to be media relations, and now it's about brand development and communications in the widest sense. We're growing and hiring different people—content creators, influencer specialists and media relations specialists. So the landscape is changing, and I find that hugely exciting. Sometimes, people say to me, 'Oh gosh, Julietta, you've been running the company for over 20 years. Don't you get a bit bored?' No. It's like starting all over again," says Dexter.
The team at TCS has played a pivotal role in scaling up some of the most powerful names in the world, from Acne Studios and J Brand to Burberry and Charlotte Tilbury. You might not have heard of TCS if you're outside of the industry, but this office has a huge impact on what we are all wearing and aspiring to wear. What I discovered when documenting how the women of TCS get dressed for the office is that when they don't have to wear a black uniform, the team has fun with what they choose to wear on a day-to-day basis—even going so far as to have outfit changes for different meetings (more on that later).
"I don't think you should dress like everybody else," explains Dexter. Keep scrolling to see how this mantra translates at one of the most fashionable offices in London.
Julietta Dexter, Founder of the Communications Store
"We're so lucky because clothes are so much fun. Daniel (the partner and chief creative officer) has taught me that because to my mother, dressing up, makeup and perfume… absolutely not. And Daniel has taught me how to enjoy it. I like to be smart—I try to be groomed, and I change my clothes a lot within a day.
"Sometimes two, three, four or even five times because we're so lucky to represent so many different clients that what you're wearing is so important to our job. What you wear for one client is not right for another client." These outfit changes, however, fit into her tight schedule, which is organised down to the last minute. She's established a formula that ensures she wastes no time.
"I find dresses easier for me because it's one thing and is less about layering. Very often I go from a work event to an evening thing, so I can easily dress it up with an earring or different pair of shoes." Julietta travels to their New York office once a month and has several capsule travelling wardrobes already prepared.
"At home, I have two or three suitcases already packed at all times for last-minute trips. I'm going to New York on Saturday for a week. My bag is already there, and if I had to quickly do a black-tie gala in New York, I could do it. Similarly, if I have to unpack boxes with the girls in the office, I could do it."
"There's a different wardrobe in New York than in London," she says of her now transatlantic role. "In New York, during the week, you're more dressed down. There are moments when you dial it up in terms of smartness, but largely, you can do jeans, smart shoes, a T-shirt and a jacket. It's been quite interesting to me. I always try to be me wherever I am and keep my own style, but I definitely get away with flat shoes more than I do here."
On Laura Smith: Self-Portrait V-Neck Jumper (£250); Topshop jeans; Charles & Keith shoes
"It's quite a casual office here," says Smith. "Generally, if we wear jeans, we'll wear smart shoes or a dress with trainers. I dress in classic pieces with the odd trend piece thrown in, so I'll invest more in my staple wardrobe. Everyone in the company has a staple fashion week wardrobe. We do 11 or 12 shows in London alone and do shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris, so we all need a lot of black pieces."
"With the evolving landscape of publications and being digital-first, we need to all be across digital and traditional PR. It's all about how we communicate to our clients," says Smith of how the role has changed. "When I worked in PR seven years ago, it was all 'There's a column inch, and this much is worth this much.' That's not how customers perceive value on your brand anymore."
Tamara Brecher, VIP and Special Projects Account Executive at The Communications Store
"On the VIP team, we do dressing and front rows for fashion shows as well as events. For these events, I usually wear a black skirt from & Other Stories and a blouse or jumper from H&M that I tuck in," says Brecher. "I try to wear colours to work the rest of the time to remind me that there are other colours out there. I normally wear Mother jeans and these shoes (if I have a meeting) or biker boots."
Tina works with Christopher Kane and organises the samples that are sent to magazines and stylists for the red carpet. "I'm either boyish like today or quite girly, so it's either-or," Chatrizeh says of what she wears in the office. "I usually wear dresses with T-shirts underneath or big, wide trousers or tracksuit bottoms. I always wear a lot of gold jewellery and only ever wear trainers."
On Lucy Findlay: Uterqüe shirt and skirt; Veja trainers (£75)
"I'm on the lifestyle team, so all the brands I work on are mainly travel brands," Findlay says of her role at TCS. "I wear a lot of Toast. I find it's really easy to wear and really comfortable. There's always the odd piece that's a bit different. My friends aren't wearing them yet." Findlay is one team member who really embraces colour: "I wear bright colours and a lot of green, khaki and berry tones."
On Laura Froud: Acne Studios jacket; Arket jeans; Sies Marjan shirt; Celine shoes
"I wear a mix of tailored pieces and sportswear," Froud says of her work wardrobe. "Most of what I wear is relaxed because I like to feel comfortable in the office. I used to wear a lot of black (the PR uniform), but now I'm trying to experiment more with colours, so I'll often wear tonal shades. My style is a mix of high street and the odd designer piece. I'll invest in things that will last me a long time, like Celine shoes and an Acne jacket. I tend to mix with a lot of menswear too—especially knits and jumpers."
As for working in fashion PR, Laura says, "I think from an outsider perspective, you would think it's very glamorous and is a lot of dinners and chic events, but it's a lot more than that. A lot of our job is to be a brand guardian. It's a lot more in-depth strategy work than I think people would imagine."
On Chinazo Ufodiama: Layeur maxi dress; Everlane Shoes; The Kooples Jeans.
"For events, there are different dress codes, like 'black sexy' or 'black casual.' Sometimes you can wear white trainers. You don't want to stand out—we're the background people getting stuff done," says Ufodiama of how she dresses for work. "I used to wear a lot of dresses and skirts in the office, but now I wear mainly jeans because it's easier." She often wears dresses as blouses (as seen in the photo above).
Stephanie Felisa, VIP & Special Projects Account Co-Ordinator
On Stephanie Felisa: Versus Versace top; Dior shoes
Stephanie works on the VIP team with brands like Acne Studios and Mother, which means she dresses celebrities for red carpet events like the Fashion Awards and fashion week. "I love flares and always wear flared trousers because I'm very petite. I feel taller when I wear them," says Stephanie. "I usually wear high-heel boots with my flared Mother denim or trousers and an oversized jumper. No sleeveless tops or anything girly," she says.
On Jen Attias: Kooples Leather Skirt; Ba&Sh Paris jacket; Christian Louboutin shoes
"I'm wearing a lot of French brands because I'm French. I'm always, always wearing French fashion! At TCS, I lead our global offering on lifestyle, fashion and beauty, so everything I do is about international strategy and finding a common theme that builds brand identity in every market." When moving to London, Attias realised she had a very Parisian way of dressing. She tends to stick to classic pieces with interesting details such as this leather wrap skirt.
On Nadia Niazi: The Kooples Bag (£368); & Other Stories Jumper
"I work in the beauty department, and my day-to-day is talking to journalists, setting up events, dealing with clients and helping them achieve their objectives. PR isn't all the glam and glitter that everyone thinks it is, and people have a misguided perception that all clients are difficult, but that isn't true." As for what Niazi wears to work, she says, "I'm a big fan of a slouchy jumper, jeans and trainers—that's pretty much winter for me."