Name: Fred Howard

Title/Position: PR Manager/Publicist

Instagram/Website: @bushwickfreddy

Fred Howard has an extensive background in styling, personal and lifestyle management, public relations and event planning.  It has allowed him to move in the fashion world untethered by titles. As co-founder and co-director of Identity Talent PR, he has the joy of working with a roster of clients who are dynamic, passionate and well-respected as some of the most admired faces in the modeling industry, including Alessandra Ambrosio, Behati Prinsloo, Doutzen Kroes, Irina Shayk, Lily Aldridge, Linda Evangelista and Lindsay Ellingson.
(Sources: LinkedIn; Facebook)

DT: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? And some highlights in your career? Please name drop (laughs).

FH: I’m a New Yorker by way of DC by way of a military bases in North Carolina, Alaska and Kentucky. I moved to New York in ’95 with plans to pursue an acting career…but I got distracted by the shiny object that is the fashion world! (laughs) Through some crazy twists of fate and being in the right place at the right time, I was hired by John Casablancas (the late founder of Elite). I worked on the agency’s model search, Elite Model Look which was an incredible opportunity for me to learn on the job about styling, hair/makeup, lighting for a shoot, but mostly managing models. Then I left Elite, worked for J. Crew’s catalog styling team, before going to DNA Models to manage special projects and PR. Through my roles at Elite and DNA, I’ve worked with Natalia, Linda, Doutzen, Amber, Stella, Oluchi, Karen Elson and Gisele just to name a few.

DT: Why is it important to have diversity in the beauty and fashion industries?

FH: It is SOOOO important to have diversity in the beauty and fashion industries—because beauty isn’t limited to a set notion. It’s not enough to have more models of color, we need more models that represent marginalized communities. But we also need folks behind the camera and in the board rooms to represent marginalized communities. We need more stylists, creative directors, photographers and managers who are diverse. Diversity is such a beautiful thing and I think it needs to exist everywhere.

DT: Have you seen shifts in the last decade?

FH: I have seen the greatest shifts in front of the camera. Elsewhere in the beauty and fashion industries, there have been smaller shifts—more like tremors than a soul-shaking quake.

DT: In a perfect world, what would be an ideal evolution in the industries of beauty and fashion?

FH: In my perfect world, there would be more luxury brands with true designers leading them—and many of those designers would be people of color. Beauty brands would have more executives, PR managers and marketing departments that are made up of people of color, the trans community, disabled community. The fashion and beauty industries aren’t including disabled people as much as they could and in my perfect world, that would change. Everyone would be welcomed and given the opportunity to thrive.

DT: Do you realize that your presence in the industry, inspires many people around the world?

FH: I did not realize that—I don’t think I ever thought about it. My role as a publicist is to be behind-the-scenes. It’s NEVER about me which has made this interview a challenge (laughs). I’m old school—you know, like back in the day when EVERYONE on set wore a uniform of black to blend in and pretty much be invisible so that the model only saw the photographer. That’s still me to this day. My role is to promote my clients and their projects and exist under the radar.

DT: What advice would you give your younger self?

FH: Oh wow, I would tell my younger self to say “yes” to more things. (laughs) Seriously, I was an Army brat and it was ingrained in me that I represented my family—so I was wound up pretty tight as a kid. I was a Class A SQUARE! I would tell that younger me to “relax, be adventurous, step outside of my comfort zone. “LIGHTEN UP!”

DT: Are you living your purpose?

FH: I’m still weighing whether or not if I have a specific purpose (laughs). Seriously though, if my purpose is to be loving and supportive to my family and friends, kind to folks I don’t know, and respectful to our planet, then I will say “yes”—I’m living my purpose.

DT: Finish this sentence, “I am grateful for…”

FH: “…SADE. Her music, her voice, her style, her mere existence is simply everything for me.”

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