Darren Howells is the Director of Public Relations at Dutch UK, the parent company of Equipment, Current/Elliott and Joie. He studied Fashion Communication and Marketing at the University of Leeds. I checked in with Darren on his views on the industry and life in general.
- What are the main differences between working for a PR agency vs working in-house for a brand?
There are many differences from agency life to working in house for a specific brand. Agency life is exciting (not that in house isn’t) but you work on so many different brands, and projects at the same time, the pace is fast – hours can be long, depending on the type of agency you are working for, there can be lots of travel, working on events, fashion weeks. In house feels like you have a lot more say and involvement in bigger projects, you get to work with many different departments such as Marketing, Digital, and Sales – you get an insight into how all of these functions within the business work together. I am still lucky enough to work with a mixture of brands, so it can still feel slightly more of an agency feel, working on various projects, I get to travel, and have fashion week projects.
- Who are your favourite designers/brands at the moment?
I always have a fondness to any designer I may have worked with before, I love what Simone Rocha is doing, she is still quite a young designer to be exploring retail, opening stores in London and in NY. Charles Jeffery seems to be making a real name for himself – and adding some fun back into fashion. I think it’s an exciting time in Fashion at the moment, with many designers and brands coming up with their own calendars that work from them and their customers, challenging the Fashion Week calendar. As soon as brands as powerful as Burberry, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger challenge these formulas, you know there are big changes to come.
- Who are your favourite people to follow on Instagram at the moment?
These change all the time, I find that people often take themselves a little too seriously on Instagram – I know it’s now a core part of people’s business, and people can make serious money out of it, but really…? My friend and stylist Fran Burns has fun with it. I think Lotta Volkova has a cool approach to it along with Hari Nef!
- Did you have a passion growing up and what/who is your biggest inspiration?
I always had a passion to be creative. My true inspiration is my family – I think that family is so important in helping you achieve what you want out of life.
- What is your favourite part about your job?
The diversity, working on various projects, meeting so many incredible and talented people – not one day is ever the same. It feels like one big adventure.
- What is the bravest thing you’ve done in your career so far?
I think the bravest thing was moving to London from a small town on the border of Wales knowing I wanted to work in Fashion – and making it happen.
- Have you any advice for fashion students or aspiring artists?
Never give up and always believe in yourself. It is hard to break into these creative industries, but people always see when someone is truly passionate and has that special thing!
- Print vs Digital?
Print – there is something about a magazine that you cannot always portray through digital. It seems more truthful in some ways.
- Who has got the best style Londoners, Parisians or New Yorkers?
Londoners – everyone has their own thing going on – you can truly be who you want to be – I like that.