Alumnus of the month
Richard Pickard (BA Film and Literature 2004-07) has gone from Warwick to the glamorous world of fashion publicity. With experience ranging from Burberry to The X Factor and Vogue he's achieving the ambitions he had when he was a student at Warwick.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be the guy that drives the steam train around a theme park. Then a film director. And then I discovered Vogue.
How did you go from Warwick to Condé Nast?
After graduation in summer 2007 I managed to secure an internship at Burberry. There I worked in the famous Haymarket showrooms with the international sales teams and buyers from Burberry’s emerging markets. I had no idea what area of fashion I wanted to work in, so it was a great foot in the door and having the brand on my CV helped secure editorial internships at Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and ELLE amongst others.
I went on to work in the press office at Ralph Lauren, which was my first taste of PR before moving to Louis Vuitton as PR Assistant, managing the new collections for photo shoots and celebrity dressing. I was there for a few years (with a break working on series 7 of The X Factor as a stylist) before I was offered my job at Condé Nast. I’ve been there since the beginning of 2012.
Give us a brief description of what you do
I work on all of the media publicity and events for the Condé Nast titles and the company as a whole, whether that’s actively promoting the magazines’ content, working backstage at the Vogue Festival, managing the red carpet at the GQ Men of the Year awards, or handling TV and film requests.
What are the most challenging parts of your work?
Dealing with certain celebrities as well as their publicists can often prove quite taxing. It’s the vaguely C/D List people that cause a lot of headaches, and in my experience the more famous someone is the nicer they actually are.
What have you done that you are most proud of?
I’m very proud of my job in general, and how hard I worked to get there. At Warwick there was a shelf in my room buckling under the weight of a pile of Vogues, so to now have my name in the masthead is quite special.
What drives you?
Enjoyment of what I do. I was always encouraged to pursue the things I love and with that mind-set I would never have been happy working a job that was just to pay the bills. I feel very lucky in that respect.
What single thing would most improve the quality of your life?
A mug of tea that was able to continually refill itself.
What was your favourite aspect of the Film & Literature course?
The film department at Warwick is second-to-none so it was a huge privilege to be there. My favourite modules were Hollywood Cinema in second and third year, spending whole terms studying genres such as horror, musicals, and leading women. It was also great to have a mix of English in my degree, and I particularly loved studying European Theatre.
What would you tell someone thinking of studying at Warwick?
I think you just know, when you visit a university, if it’s the right one for you. When I went to the Warwick open day I could picture everything so clearly and knew I would be extremely happy there. For anyone keen on a campus university experience I’d have no higher recommendation.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently during your time as a student?
I could probably have done with a few more evenings in the library and a few less in The Graduate, but it was a fantastic three years so I’ve no serious regrets.
What three objects would you take with you to a desert island?
Swimming goggles, a camera, and an iPod filled with music.
What are your favourite memories of your years at Warwick?
Hitching a ride on an empty coach from campus to the A43 petrol station; Fake Christmas; summer days lying on the lawns; the student cinema; losing a day in Rococo; losing a night in The Graduate; Thursday afternoon screenings; WUDS; the delirium of an all-nighter at the Learning Grid; the arts centre sofas; South Central baguettes; ‘Mr Brightside’ regularly ending the night at Top Banana.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years’ time?
I’d hope to be in a more senior role on Vogue itself, or else at a leading fashion house. Otherwise, I’ll be working on my fourth novel from my home at the beach.
Do you have any advice for new graduates?
Be proactive. Look at people you admire and see how they got to where they are, and then follow the same trajectory. Don’t be afraid to contact people, to ask their advice and to get your foot in the door. Certain jobs and roles don’t get advertised, especially at a lower level, so you need to seek them out yourself.
Richard Pickard: the facts
BA (Hons) Film & Literature 2004-07
|Career:||Condé Nast 2012-present, Louis Vuitton 2009-2011, The X Factor 2010, Ralph Lauren 2009, Burberry 2007-8, along with several fashion editorial internships including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE.|
|Interests:||Running, swimming, art, cinema, fashion, music, literature, country pubs, baking, the seaside, travel, Beyoncé.|