Stories

Kitty McGee - BA (Hons) Public Relations, 2008

Former PR student reflects on her journey from Leeds Beckett to Stylist magazine.

Stories

Person reading a magazine

Inside the world of PR, Fashion Weeks and fashion disasters.

Former PR student reflects on her journey from Leeds Beckett to Stylist magazine.

“My worst fashion disaster was for my first ever job interview, brown trousers, a blouse and – I don’t even want to remember what shoes! I had no idea what I was meant to dress like,” laughs Kitty McGee who graduated from our University with a BA (Hons) in Public Relations in 2008. Now the Executive Fashion Director of Stylist magazine, Kitty’s career has gone from strength to strength since her time at Leeds Beckett University.

Kitty didn’t always want to study or pursue a career in PR, she began by studying Journalism at Leeds University before realising her heart wasn’t in it. “I remember trying to write my assignment and I realised it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t know what to do, so I spoke to a family friend who suggested that Public Relations may be better suited for me and I haven’t looked back.” After transferring to Leeds Beckett University, Kitty’s passion for PR grew.

In between her second and final year, Kitty undertook a placement year at local PR agency Crush Communications. She credits the experience she gained during this time as one of the factors which enabled her to get where she is now.

“Working at Crush Communications with Agency Director Caroline Rush CBE was a fantastic experience,” she recalls. “I was able to apply the theory I learnt in lectures to the real world environment and absolutely loved it. This experience helped me to decide what I wanted to do when I graduated.”

After graduating with a 2:1, Kitty returned to Crush Communications to work full-time. “Doing a year in industry helped me and most of my friends secure jobs after we graduated – almost all with the companies that we had done our placements with.”

“Undertake internships and placement years, the industry is small so make sure you give your job everything, don’t sit around doing nothing – always offer your help and make sure they know your name.”

When Caroline made the move to the British Fashion Council (BFC) as CEO, Kitty followed with another colleague to set up the in house press office. Responsible for managing UK public relations, Kitty worked on a number of high profile industry events including London Fashion Week and the British Fashion Awards. Keen to gain experience in commercial and product based PR, Kitty moved to Selfridges as Womenswear press officer in 2010. “Like any retail store, it was very sales driven, but it gave me experience in the commercial world which allowed me to have the experience I needed to go for the job at Stylist magazine.”

After hearing about the position opening at weekly lifestyle magazine, Stylist from a contact, Kitty was keen to apply and landed herself the role of Executive Fashion Editor. Kitty shoots a weekly still life page, contributes to fashion news and organises various fashion events and presentations as part of this role. After two years, Kitty was promoted to Executive Fashion Director for the magazine. As part of this new role, Kitty now enviably travels to the fashion weeks in London, New York, Paris and Milan every six months to spot the latest trends for the magazine. “The events can be tiring as you’re working until 1am sometimes and then up again at 7am, however it’s brilliant being able to see what designers are doing – my favourite fashion weeks are definitely London and Paris, you get to see a lot of new designers and some incredible productions. The key to lasting the duration of these events is drinking lots of water and vitamin C sachets.

“Metallics, 90s fashion and ruffles are all making a comeback for 2016,” quips Kitty using her inside knowledge from her recent fashion week experiences. “I can’t wait!”

Kitty recently returned to our University to deliver a guest lecture to current Public Relations students who were excited to hear more about the inner workings of a fashion magazine. Keen to divulge some advice to the students in attendance, Kitty encouraged them to make the most out of their degree. “Undertake internships and placement years, the industry is small so make sure you give your job everything, don’t sit around doing nothing – always offer your help and make sure they know your name.”

Outside of work, Kitty tries to keep her personal life as stress free as possible. “With work I spend a lot of time travelling across London and beyond, so in my downtime I like to stay in Shoreditch with my friends – I lead a hectic life so it’s important to embrace down time!”

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