Industry Voices –Courtney Blackman

Courtney Blackman by Christopher Dadey.jpg

So today I’ve got another fabulous scoop for you all, advice from one of the most amazing women in British fashion, Music, and publishing, Courtney Blackman. A director at FARBLACK Ltd,an  adviser to The Industry, involved with the WGSN Global Fashion Awards and Creative Futures  and as if that is not enough editor of Candid Magazine.

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Director, industry adviser, magazine editor and involved with the WGSN Awards are you the busiest person in London?

And there’s a whole other portfolio of projects in Canada…

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What did you want to be as a kid?

When I was very young, I wanted to be a veterinarian, but as I got older, I realised I wasn’t really a pet person. So…

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As a magazine editor, what do you look for in writers and journalists?

Creative angles, relevance and a top notch vocabulary.

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What was the best business lesson you’ve learned?

To delegate.

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What was the hardest business lesson you’ve learned?

To delegate.

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If you could give a young person one piece of personal advice and one piece of professional advice what would it be?

Personal: Surround yourself with people that you respect and like.

Business: Focus on the important things.

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How do you tackle challenges?

Head on. They aren’t going to disappear.

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Who inspires you?

My partner. He’s so smart, it’s scary.

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People are afraid of mistakes, but aren’t they as good to learn from as successes?

Definitely. It’s pretty rare to learn a good lesson from a success, isn’t it?

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With such success as you’ve had comes huge time demands, how do you manage that?

Always taking time for myself and my partner, and focusing on the important things.

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When you get home and switch off the laptop how do you relax?

Films. I love to watch films, and read.

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Can PR seem more like a treadmill than the glam life many people think it always is?

It’s a bit both. When you’re in the office working away, it’s definitely a lot of repetitive, often mundane, sometimes challenging work, but then, when you’re at an event or catwalk show that you’ve produced, it feels awesome.

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Realistically, are the hours of a PR huge?

They certainly can be. It depends on the time of the year. Around fashion weeks, hours are very long, and having clients in other hemispheres can have you up at the crack of dawn and working until the wee hours.

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What’s the most insane request you’ve had from a client?

I think managing expectations is always difficult in PR. Overnight success stories are few and far between and it takes time to build a brand.

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Whats the best way to stay calm in a crisis?

Having a good team around you and a good sense of humour.

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Tell us more about the WGSN Awards?

I’ve been working with the awards and their founder, Lauretta Roberts since they started in 2010 in New York. For the 2016 session, they’ve been rebranded to the WGSN Futures Awards, and will still honour the best of the best globally in design, retail and digital. One of the things I’ve worked on with the awards since their inception is appointing the illustrious and icon-packed judging panel.

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You advise people in the fashion industry, what do you see as the biggest change you think it needs?

 There are huge changes afoot the will see the industry shift significantly to align itself with consumer demand. I think there will be a lot of support needed to ensure that all of the layers of businesses that make up the global fashion industry are able to get on the same track and quickly, or else it’s going to be a little messy…

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Find Courtney on Twitter at @courtnyblackman and @forwardPR

or at the Forward PR Website.

Photograph by Christopher Dadey


About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments

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