Gorkana Insight & Analysis Team
He's the man behind some of the biggest PR campaigns over the last decade, but Nick Ede, founder of EdenCancan, tells Gorkana why his latest collaboration, which sees him combine his PR and style skills to raise awareness for the Stroke Association, is the dream of a lifetime.
Firstly, tell us about the Style for Stroke campaign.
The Style for Stroke campaign is part of the ongoing work the Stroke Association does. Initially, we are launching the fundraising campaign with a capsule collection of designs by popular fast fashion retailer Little Mistress. I have edited eight designs that I think will appeal to everyone and 15% will go to the charity. Sizes range from 6 to 16 so instead of little black dresses they are lovely black dresses and are available to everyone!
I believe in inclusion in fashion! The aim is to work with different brands on developing Style for Stroke so you will see in the next few months other brands coming on board and being a part of the initiative. My aim is to open a charity shop called Style for Stroke so watch this space...
Where did the idea come from?
For the past 17 years I have been raising awareness for the Stroke Association. My mother passed away from a stroke on the same day as Princess Diana was killed. It changed me and made me realise that I knew nothing about strokes so I was determined to make a difference and raise awareness for young people!
I love fashion and style and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to engage a demographic who may not necessarily be engaged in understanding the gravity of strokes and what it can do! Hopefully with S4S it will raise awareness and highlight it like the Tony Nicklinson story that has been front page in the last few weeks.
You have some amazing celebrity support…
Yes I am very lucky! It's been a bit chicken and egg but I have gained a big celebrity following because everyone knows I'm doing this from my heart. I've been very lucky to have support from stars including, Kelly Rowland, Jamie Oliver, Sarah Harding, Kelly Osbourne and Hillary Devey. Having their support gives the charity some gravitas and also column inches.
You've masterminded so many amazing PR campaigns in your career but you say that through this campaign you've achieved your life's dream.
At EdenCancan we have created some great stand-out campaigns including Channel Four battlefront, BBC Children in Need Pop Goes the Musical and MTV work to name but a few. Last year I won an Honoury Life After Stroke award for my work and I suppose really it was for the PR I do for the charity as a volunteer. I think that every day if I achieve something then I can go home and be happy! I'm a great believer in a can-do attitude and I truly believe that if you can do it then do it! My dream has always been to make a difference and Style for Stroke is a culmination of hard work, passion and also my PR skills put to the best of their use. Bottom line is that it's all about having a clear message that people will be able to understand immediately and that's what Style for Stroke does!
What PR are you doing off the back of the campaign?
We are launching the campaign with a star studded event at Five Cavendish Square on October 2. Hopefully we will get a lot of press off the back of it. In addition, Strictly Come Dancing star Kristina Rhianoff will be modelling the designs for a shoot and those images will be placed in many publications. In addition to this, we will also be hosting a special online auction with ebay for celebrity accessorised dresses. Stars including Mel B and Jessie J have kindly given items to accessorise the dresses that will be available for auction for a limited period.
How do you balance your style work with running EdenCancan?
I am a workaholic and like it that way! I see them as integral and I manage to use my skills in the best possible way. EdenCancan is such an exciting business and we are very lucky to have so many amazing clients and opportunites to amplify brands in strategic and inventive ways. After seven years of running the business I feel I have a lot of knowledge to use. This year I'm hosting the style stage at London Fashion Weekend and am off to New York Fashion Week to present at Vogue's Fashion Night Out, so I feel very lucky that I am in this position and I have a voice.
How much time do you devote to charity work?
I am a patron for the charity Jeans for Genes, an ambassador for The Princes Trust and a mentor for YouYou Mentoring! So I devote most of my spare time to offering advice or helping others. My main focus at the moment is Style for Stroke and the A Night with Nick charity event has now become a fixture on the social event calendar which I am very proud of - if I can help I'll do it!
Do you think more PRs should get involved in charity work?
I think that PRs are in a really strong position to utilise their contacts and their abilities to make a difference. CSR is a very important part of business life now and if you can pledge to help from bake sales, like the guys at House PR, to charity Christmas cards then do it! The sense of achievement is incredible and to think that your work is benefiting someone who needs it can mean a hell of a lot.
And finally, where should we look out for coverage of the Style for Stroke campaign?
I'd like to say everywhere, and knowing me, and the brilliant EdenCancan team, I suspect Style for Stroke and the lovely black dresses will be everywhere from glossies to tabloids, and will even make it onto TV!