PURPLE, Executive Vice President
Written by The World's Best Events
Andrew Lister has been an integral part of PURPLE for over 11 years. Having earned his stripes within the media landscape in the UK, Andrew joined PURPLE’s London office, re-locating to the US to be part of the launch team of PURPLE New York and following, PURPLE Los Angeles. PURPLE is a global lifestyle agency that represents the world’s leading luxury brands and houses, alongside the new wave of cutting-edge talent and creative design. Andrew is currently Executive Vice President of PURPLE.
How did you get started in communications and PR?
I started at PURPLE over 11 years ago. I was previously on the editorial side working for a number of leading men’s publications in the UK and was then approached to join PURPLE to head up the men’s division, eventually becoming overall Fashion Director. I relocated to New York six years ago to be part of the team and open the office in New York, and subsequently Los Angeles two years following.
What’s a typical day for you?
It sounds like a cliche, but two days are never alike and there is no “typical day.” We work with a lot of international clients, so the early mornings are usually taken with our European clients and from there it can be anything from client and strategy meetings, through to pitches, day-to-day housekeeping and, where required, traveling domestically and internationally for fashion weeks, events, art fairs, launches, galas and anything else that our clients maybe working on and needing support with.
Can you describe a few events you’ve worked on recently?
We had a lot of large-scale hotel openings last year, working with Ian Schrager on the opening of Times Square and West Hollywood EDITION hotels, which were huge activations and involved an entirely curated festival of events for each. We always have a large presence in Miami for Art Basel and this year we had over 30 events, working with incredible clients that included Gucci, Chloe, The Face and Whitewall. We are coming off the back of New York Fashion Week, where we had over 11 shows, four dinners and six parties, plus two shows adjacent in LA for MISSONI and Baja East. We just got through the thick of it with Frieze LA.
Has social media changed what you do?
It has in regard to the reach of actively communicating an event. I remember when we opened PUBLIC hotel in NYC before flying to Milan for the men’s shows five days later, and everyone in Milan saying that they had seen all of the opening activity and the property itself all over social media and couldn’t wait to go and see it for themselves. It really underlined the enormity and global reach of social media.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
The fact that not one day is ever alike and the unique position to get to meet so many people from all walks of life with such interesting, creative minds.
All your current fantastic clients aside, what other brand(s) would you love to work with and why?
That’s an interesting one. We do have a very wide and varied roster of clients, many of which have been with us for many years, even decades. We are always careful to not take on too many clients and are very conscious that we are over delivering on the ones we have. However, if an incredible client comes along with an impeccable vision and philosophy, those are the clients we wish to work with.
What does a fashion brand need to do to connect with its customers in 2020?
It’s about having a unique voice and point of view. Don’t try to replicate others and what other designers are doing, be authentic and true to yourself. There is no “cookie cutter’ mold anymore;” you have to be true to yourself and your designs.
How are you different from your competitors?
We are creative thinkers and connectors. One of our great philosophies is that we are not only fashion, per se; we have a number of equally strong sectors across beauty, wellness, lifestyle, hospitality, digital, events and VIP services. It is that collaborative thinking that makes us different from others, as the network is enormous.
What do you think this industry – and your business – will look like 20 years from now?
Presently (and rightly so) everyone is more conscious, and the question of waste and excess is being heavily looked into. I am sure this will mean, in turn, fewer brands and collections. As for 20 years down the line, who knows…
How have influencers influenced events.
I wouldn’t say influencers themselves have influenced events, per se. I would say social media has impacted events, through specifically targeted photo and digital moments, but that is overall for all guests, not a specific group of people.
What makes a great event?