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Rob Davies is a director of Trace Publicity, which he set up with Lian Hirst. Trace is multi-disciplined agency specialising in fashion brands, handling marketing, PR, events, sponsorship and branding. 


How did you start your career in fashion? 

I actually trained in design and took part of my degree at FIT in New York. Whilst there I also worked at PR Consulting and assisted on the Alexander McQueen show for SS2000 and was hooked. I then came back to London and spent 4 more seasons helping the PR team in-house at McQueen, which was an incredible experience. From there I worked at a boutique agency and then moved onto do the PR for Topman for over 5 years. A move to The Communications Store, staying for 4 years, proved do be one of the best moves, we all worked so well together and had real comradery - an initiative we definitely instigate here at Trace. Stints at and My-wardrobe followed working on PR & marketing and providing a solid foundation for e-commerce expertise. My business partner, Lian Hirst, and I set Trace up three years ago as we wanted to create an environment and business built on passion and intuition combined with our extensive knowledge and backgrounds.      

What do you enjoy most about being a director of Trace?

For me it’s about the team and clients. Lian and I work so well together we are completely in sync and literally the yin and yang to each others strengths. Being your own boss and being able to work with some of the best in the industry, with exciting brands you believe in makes every day different and exciting.

How do you deal with the
intensity of fashion week?

Lian and I originally met at McQueen so shows are in our DNA. We work so closely with our brands and see catwalks shows as a culmination of months of hard work and preparation, from sourcing sponsorship, venues, production, creating each element to reflect each designer. With the introduction of the separate London Collections Men it’s definitely meant more focus onto British menswear and is now one of the highlights in the calendar. We both still personally hand write and oversee the invitation and seating processes - fashion week can be stressful enough so all the planning ensures our Trace shows and presentations run smoothly.

What are you looking for in emerging brands to join Trace?

We get to meet so many creatives and talent at Trace but we like to keep our ‘family’ contained to a certain size so we can physically work on them without over-stretching. We have built up a reputation of finding, launching, building and establishing brands - we never approach clients directly and each client has come to us organically or by recommendation. We also have great relationships with the British Fashion Council, Centre for Fashion Enterprise, who work tirelessly to support and nurture designers at every level. We definitely have an eye for potential from avant garde to commercial we tend to see how we can evolve the brand with them and are always drawn to infectious energy and talent.

Images: The fashion brands at Trace. Clockwise from top left: Fannie Schiavoni, H by Harris (yellow quilt rucksack), Georg Jensen (Fusion rings), Jean-Pierre Braganza, Foxhall London and Matthew Miller.