the mechanics of the fashion industry are designed to initiate illusion, elicit ideals, perpetuate image and more to the point, market to an ocean of voracious consumers. but few machines run effectively without fuel, and it's the world of public relations that provides exactly that. in an increasingly challenging business, designers are forced to find themselves a publicity expert, an oracle of sorts to not only nurture and motivate creative growth, but find assertive ways to place their brand in front of the critical mass. enter new york-based pr maven corinna springer of nouveau pr. born in germany, springer moved to paris in the early 1990s to study fine art and french literature before working with japanese designer shinichiro arakawa.
she then landed a role at french pr firm girault - totem, managing a roster of fashion lines and learning the ropes of the media and communnications business. she then moved to new york working with cult denim deities rogan and famed austrian fashion designer helmut lang in high-paced public relations roles. it was in 2007 that the decision was made to branch out on her own and create new york-based brand agency nouveau pr. corinna currently works with a stable of international designers such as a.f.vandevorst, robert geller, rochambeau and kostas murkudis to name a few, not to mention her side careers in energy treatment and real estate. we caught up with the busy pr protagonist to discuss the business of building brands and life behind the veil of creative presentation.
can you key us in on your foray into the pr world? was it an organic career move or a strategic plan from early on? i ended up in pr malgré moi, a little bit by chance, or maybe it was more like a red thread that brought me to it, but it was not pre-planned at all. i actually wanted to become a merchandiser, but that was before leaving germany for paris, and meeting all the serendipitous people who brought me into that world.
what was the motivation behind building nouveau pr? being independent and championing talented designers that may think and work differently from most local designers but are based here in new york city.
why did you choose to base nouveau pr in new york? i didn’t see myself evolving in paris, and new york had – and still has – an incredible attraction for me. people have more motivation and they are encouraged to create businesses, whereas in paris, creating your own business is the most difficult thing in the world, just from a legal stand point, taxes etc. they make it impossible for anyone who doesn’t come from money to have a business.
what draws you to the particular brands and creatives nouveau pr represents? talent, authenticity, integrity and novelty. something i see in younger brands that may need to be broadened. but mostly, where i see an amazing potential to grow slowly and steadily, proposing something new.
there has been a major shift in editorial with digital vs. print publications over the last ten years. what role does the digital world play in terms of press these days? the digital world, including social media has become the signature of a brand and there are many ways to represent a brand and its universe, and communicate it immediately to the consumer. while print is still more prestigious, it now really serves as a base for digital and social media in my humble opinion. the tendency towards digital is an unavoidable shift that is happening in society as we become more virtually inclined / obsessed every day. we may be one of the last generations to appreciate print as we [still] do.
what are nouveau pr's main goals with its clients and how do you go about building your brands and presenting them to the fast-paced industry here? i’m not going to lie, it has become increasingly difficult to be a pr with non-advertising brands, and i think that in an industry where buyers look at instagram numbers when evaluating to buy or not, that's when we need to shift our focus and pivot. my feeling is pr will increasingly be more about community building and gate keeping.
what's your opinion on the state of the fashion industry in the u.s. in terms of fostering creativity? the up and coming are fostered moreso in europe, not so much here. here the system looks at numbers first, and of course there may be one or two exceptions to the rule, but it seems to be extreme and borderline caricatural. otherwise it may just take ten years for creatives to get the recognition they deserve.
you seem to have a strong connection to the holistic and an ongoing interest in energy work. is this something you incorporate into your day to day operations? well, sort of. it is open to my employees if they want anything to do with it or not, but if they are interested i do offer reiki sessions and initiations, and other energetic treatments. the occasional headache or twisted ankle for anyone who works here or visits the showroom is easily mended here. so it is incorporated in some ways. we also do have a massage table for that purpose in the back as well. and i offer sessions after working hours.
tell us about the real estate component of your work. that is in its very first steps, it’s a world that fascinates me, and retail properties, for example is an interesting world of its own. right now I am helping my dear friend al mason who is looking to go further into fashion retail and is already one of the most important players in real estate, financially advising and brokering deals internationally.
in a nutshell, what would be your advice to a fledgling brand looking to launch in the current climate? before you launch, know that talent and initial funding is not enough, you have to be well-versed in the marketing and branding aspects [or have a skilled partner who can help you with the business]. you also have to be your own brand ambassador, you need to be able to talk about your brand, and be sharp. most importantly though, you have to find that point between staying ahead of the curve without being too progressive, and that is sometimes the hardest part.