After doing public relations for two of the biggest names in fashion, Remi Barbier decided to open his own PR firm, RBPR, and hasn’t looked back. The French-born flack tells us how he built his career, his proudest moments so far, and why he sticks to the “ quality over quantity ” formula when it comes to his clients.
How did you get into the fashion industry?
What’s interesting is that I didn’t look for a career in the fashion industry. I attended an international school called ISCPA Paris, where I did a master’s degree in communication and journalism. During my stay in Paris, I had the chance to do an internship at Architectural summary magazine with Marie Kalt, before landing a position in Karla Otto’s public relations firm when it was headed by Alexander Werz. I never imagined that all of this would end up moving me to New York City, where I would find my perfect PR partner. After a stint in Karla Otto’s cabinet, I became a journalist for the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris, Carine Roitfeld. As a PR I worked for his magazine CR Fashion Book; organize events and participate in projects with Harper’s Bazaar magazine where she was global fashion director. In this role, I have been exposed to the global fashion and beauty industries, from launching collaborations with Uniqlo to working on Carine’s fragrance. While working for Carine, I also juggled public relations and events for Harper’s Bazaar, V Magazine, V Man, and worked alongside editor and creative director Stephen Gan. It was a fantastic experience securing and managing the press for magazines, organizing unforgettable events and dinners – including for the late Karl Lagerfeld – and meeting exceptional people whom I still consider friends and family. family today. Throughout this time, I have met many amazing people, like my friends from The Daily, and learned many life lessons.
What was the next step?
Six years after the start of my career, Carine and Stephen suggested that I open my own PR agency. Needless to say, I was scared by their suggestion. However, I have decided to take a leap of faith, and I support this as one of the best decisions I have ever made. I sincerely believe that my career has been a fortuitous mix of hard work and opportunity, and I am humbly grateful for all the experiences, mentors and people I have met along the way.
What was right for you in public relations?
I am a naturally independent person who thrives under pressure. I’m curious, but I also like to keep things modern and fun; that’s why I constantly strive to see things from a different perspective and to consider new approaches.
What brands and people do you work with?
I founded RBPR at the end of 2018. Since then, we have been working in partnership with clients from different sectors. We’ve worked with some of the world’s biggest brands including Samsung, Moncler, Burberry, Dior, Warner Music, Clarins, Google, Faena Hotel, Hearst Magazines, Saks Fifth Avenue, Winnie Harlow and Maria Borges to name a few – one. Our portfolio is diverse: from fashion to lifestyle, interior design, beauty, wellness and talent. We work with new brands looking to test a market and expand globally, such as La Bouche Rouge Paris, and established tech and luxury brands looking to develop new products on a global scale.
Each publicist brings a unique perspective to the work. What do you plan to bring?
I try to have a well balanced life away from all the parts and drama of the industry. I know it can go against the “24/7 work” mentality, but I have learned through trial and error to create boundaries between work and home life. I encourage myself to take some time to take care of myself and to take a few moments to put my phone down and enjoy life. These limitations have allowed me to be more compassionate and patient with my staff, clients and those around me. Running my own business at 30 has also given me the opportunity to devote time to some organizations close to my heart, including the causes of climate change and the fight against human trafficking. Last year, for example, I organized an event at the United Nations with the Ambassador of Monaco and journalist Celhia de Lavarenne, founder of Stop Trafficking of People. The event was joined by actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg, ambassadors from around the world and great activists. When I’m not on Zoom calls and working with clients, I spend time cooking, eating and drinking fine wine with my loved ones or riding a horse in the countryside. I’m also a big proponent of adopting new platforms – PR is always changing! There is no one way to get your customers to where they need to be. Finding creative solutions that delight my clients is what makes this job fun. And if we are able to do good for the world in the process … even better! The old ways of doing business are no longer adequate in a post-pandemic world. We must constantly seek a better approach, from media placements to collaborations and partnerships.
What types of clients are right for you?
I built RBPR to be a modern agency with an exclusive and highly organized client list. Each has an interesting story to share with the world. I never accept a client for money or prestige. These kinds of relationships invariably backfire. A good working relationship based on mutual respect and trust is a priority for me.
You have worked with Carine Roitfeld for many years. What did she teach you about the industry?
I initially met Carine when she was at Vogue Paris before moving to New York to establish CR Fashion Book. As a mentor, Carine taught me the value of relationship building and the power of loyalty and genuine friendships. She taught me to think big and never give up. Who said there is no lasting loyalty or friendship in the fashion industry? I will never forget my very first fashion shoot with Carine in Paris in 2014. We shot Bella Hadid and Paige Reifer for CR Fashion Book– the two are still dear friends today.
You have been working in New York for many years, and now you are taking on global clients. Tell us about this extension.
Fortunately, 2020 has been a year of tremendous growth for RBPR. We set up in Europe, where I undertook several new projects, mainly in the beauty and well-being sectors. It all came together organically and through referrals. My new European clients allowed me to spend time in Paris and Burgundy and visit my 90-year-old grandparents. In 2021, I look forward to further expanding our customer base in the United States and Europe.
The fashion industry has gone through a year. What do you think will be the biggest change to come?
Social justice must be a priority. Change begins when we recognize our past mistakes, hold each other accountable, and start listening instead of pretending to have all the answers. I don’t have the answers! But I do know that fashion has a huge platform, and fashion can be used as a positive force for social justice if we dare to shut our mouths for a moment and just listen to the experiences of others. And let’s not forget about climate change. I recently partnered with Future Earth, founded by Stephanie Shepherd, to inform their work. I think they are doing an important job with their platform. We need more of this! COVID has affected the fashion industry, but I think there is a silver lining. I think the pandemic has highlighted the need for us to rethink our choices. The fashion industry needs to seriously consider its contribution to waste, unfriendly habits and environmentally harmful production methods. While fashion is progressing steadily, there is still a lot to do. Some of the solutions are obvious – we can reduce the number of fashion shows, make collections smaller and more organized, and reduce the amount of clothing produced.
What was your proudest moment as a publicist?
While there are many appealing moments, I have to say I’m incredibly proud of how my clients weathered the pandemic! Let’s be honest, the pre-COVID world was all about in-person events, full of stars. For example, we organized the “Last Supper” party at Miami Art Basel hosted by Lenny Kravitz and Dom Pérignon with Faena. We also worked on the press and VIPs for the Longines Global Champions Tour horse show on Governors Island, hosted by top riders Georgina Bloomberg and Jessica Springsteen in New York. We did the Grammys Party presented by Warner Music with Dua Lipa and Cardi B, and kicked off NYFW with the Saks Fifth Avenue Birthday Party in New York City and many more. Once the clock ticked to 2020 and the COVID outbreak began, our priorities and brand collaborations shifted to respond to the moment.
How did you pivot during the pandemic?
With sustainable luxury cashmere brand LERET LERET, Lisa Pomerantz and God’s Love We Deliver, we have provided thousands of meals to the most vulnerable elderly New Yorkers and underserved communities living with HIV / AIDS. The brand is currently partnering with the Loveland Foundation to support and donate a percentage of its sales to provide financial assistance to black women and girls seeking mental health therapy in the United States. Meanwhile, AD100 interior designer Robert Stilin joined the God Love We Deliver effort and fed New York’s most vulnerable by raising funds around the launch of his new book. The Natural Diamond Council focused on wildlife and sustainability and hosted a roundtable with young global leaders. SENA Lifestyle Studio online lifestyle store raised funds for Maison Lotus to support homeless women, youth and children. With modern wellness hair brand Fable & Mane, we’ve supported the mental health of their clients with virtual hair yoga events hosted via Zoom during lunch hours. Together with wellness guru Juhi Singh, founder of the Juhi-Ash Center, All Hands and Hearts, and Petra Nemcova, we have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and delivered respirators, masks and face shields for nurses and nurses. the doctors. Every day I am grateful to work with a group of amazing customers who create valuable products and services and do good in this world too!
Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date with all the latest fashion news and juicy industry gossip.