Real Style With Karine Idrissi of Mackage

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There are many reasons why I love blogging but one of top ones is that I get to work with and get to know so many dynamic and interesting individuals. I first met Karine when I attended a press preview at the Mackage headquarters here in Montreal. Had she not immediately introduced herself as their PR Specialist, I would have thought she was the model for the day. Besides her long legs and model-off-duty vibe, she also happens to be a downright sweetheart who has made a quite a name for herself in her chosen field. Basically, the perfect person to profile in this series.

Check out her interview below for her best tips for succeeding in the industry and what she’s loving for SS15. Hints: Hard work and bold brights.

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Tell us about yourself!

I am a fashion admirer with a love for meeting people and throwing memorable events, which inevitably led me to my chosen career path: Public Relations Specialist. Currently spearheading the internal PR for Montreal based fashion powerhouse Mackage.

 Who are your favorite designers?

That is always such a tough question because I feel like I love designers for such different reasons and my tastes obviously evolve as I get older. I have always had a special place in my heart for both Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant because of their timelessness and simplicity. If I am looking to dream and be inspired, I look to Balmain and Chanel. I think it’s really great that there’s some really amazing designers coming out of Australia that bring such youth and femininity to the scene such as Talulah, The Fifth Label and Finders Keepers.

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What trends are you loving for winter?

I always love a big chunky scarf, so I am a  big fan of the cable knit look. I feel like it winterises any outfit. I also love how some people are being daring with the white jeans after labour day and integrating it into the perfect winter #OOTD.

 Any trends you’re excited about for spring?

Spring is bringing fashion back to the basics in terms of colour. You will be seeing a lot of the primary colours popping up in everyone’s wardrobe and I am OK with that. As someone who is a lover of the black, white & grey tones – I am looking forward to adding a solid pop of colour to my looks, most likely with a purse!

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You’ve reached quite the profession milestone becoming a PR specialist for such a well-known fashion house, any advice to other young women looking to enter the industry?

Thank you for the compliment! It’s definitely a career highlight to be able to say that I work for such a well-known brand both here in Canada and the US. My number one piece of advice to anyone wanting to work in PR and particularly Fashion PR is you NEED to intern. And yes, it will be for free! Intern as long as you can (minimum a year) at a few different places. Test out agency life versus working directly for a brand. It will be about sacrifice at first (and a lot of coffee runs!), but in the end you will be better for it. You’ve got to buff up that resume and nothing looks better than real life experience. You cannot hide behind degrees and certificates in PR, it’s about being in the mix of things and meeting the right people. You are only as good as the people you meet and the relationships you build.

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What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received regarding succeeding in such a competitive industry?

I was given 2 great pieces of advice when I was at L’Oreal.

1. FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT (If you don’t know the answer, pretend that you do in front of people and then go work your butt off trying to figure out the answer).

2. YOU AREN’T SAVING LIVES (You need to get realistic about what you can and cannot do. Do not drive yourself crazy or into a burn out for no good reason. Set your boundaries, and know when to say “NO”. That’s been my biggest struggle over the years, constantly wanting to be a people pleaser, you end up losing in the end.)

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 You have 48 hours in Montreal, how do you spend them?

Eating and shopping!

You start with –

Brunch: Passe Compose, Cafe Griffintown or Le Cartet

Then you hit Ste-Catherine street and work your way up and explore the underground tunnel.

Dinner: Le Bremner, Helena or Joe Beef

Somehow, you need to try the chicken at Portugalia – your mind will be blown! And the pizza at Pizza Napoletana. Perhaps a pre-dinner snack? lol

A day on your feet shopping needs to be rewarded with a massage and epic view at Bota Bota in the Old Port of Montreal.

Then I would grab a drink at Philemon, where they have the friendliest staff and best music!