Fashion rebel with a cause –
Following a degree in media and communications at Swinburne and a three-month stint at high-profile fashion PR firm Ogan/Dallal Associates Inc in New York in early 2010, Natarsha Kershaw felt set to take her hometown by storm.
But life had its own ideas and Natarsha’s expectations of entering the job market in Melbourne met with closed doors.
“People are reluctant to give you a shot,” she said. “I felt useless not working after the pace of New York.”
The potential downer only prompted audacious Natarsha, 22, to DIY her work-life, and so www.fashionrebel.com.au was born. She hopes her PR and styling business specialising in promoting local cafes and boutiques will one day evolve to a PR or creative production agency.
“At the moment it’s about networking, building up a clientele and showcasing that which I’m passionate about,” she said.
Natarsha scored the Ogan/Dallal internship in Manhattan with help from a family friend at Gucci. Finding the New York way of doing business to be ‘cut throat’, Natarsha warned “It’s no place for someone who isn’t strong, prepared, or ready to make the most of it.”
“At first I cried and struggled. Then one morning I woke up and said to myself: ‘You just sat front-row at the Badgley Mischka show, you saw Sarah Jessica Parker, and you’re living in a gorgeous apartment in the heart of Chelsea. It doesn’t get any better.”
Like any intern, Natarsha had her fair share of daily administrative tasks. She was fortunate to tackle some more valuable tasks too, like ‘harassing’ editors, journalists and producers to get coverage in major magazines, television shows and red carpet events. Then there was writing up the daily rounds of ‘fashion talk’ and gossip for publications, helping with events and going to glamorous parties to network with clients on the fashion circuit.
Natarsha also delivered designer handbags and clothes to the stars on the sets of “Gossip Girl” and “Sex and the City 2”, and confirmed that celebrity gifting forms a major part of the success of public relations in the fashion world. “Once you have the photo of the celebrity wearing your clothes, jewellery or holding your bag, everything takes off.”
Being passionate about having a career that allows her to be expressive and unique, rather than ‘a hard-hitting journalist’ is what attracts Natarsha to the rag trade.
“For starters, fashion is superficial. To sit there and write about ‘how to wear this, why you shouldn’t buy that’ — it won’t change the world [but] no-one will say ‘you can’t write that’. Fashion has no boundaries and that’s why I’m drawn to writing about an industry with no limits.”
Natarsha said that during her time at Swinburne she acquired self-belief and formed a clearer idea of what she wanted from a career.
“I realised that I do have something to offer academically, and if I’m proactive and utilise the resources around me, then I’ll develop as a writer. Swinburne nurtured all of those things. I really came to understand that the tutors are there to help, and they want to see you excel.”