News & Runway

Fashion Industry Insider: Tony Alcindor, Publicist

Born in London and educated in Toronto, Tony Alcindor is a fashion industry maven who has spend years diligently working his way up to his current role as Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing at Ports 1961.

His career has taken him around the world and back again. In less than six years, Alcindor has turned the once unknown Ports 1961 into a household name that has attracted the attention of everyone from Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour to Olivia Palermo.


Given Alcindor’s regarded position in the fashion world, we thought it would be a great idea to pick the vivacious fashionisto’s brain about what it takes to be a publicist, what it’s like to work Fashion Week from a PR perspective, the future of luxury, and so much more…


The Fashion Spot: Did you always know you wanted to work in the fashion industry?

Tony Alcindor: Yes. I was always fascinated by the glamorous images I saw in magazines, and I loved beautiful clothes from a very young age.

I went to school for fashion design and was in the industry for almost 25 years. I designed women’s, men’s, and children’s wear. I even did interiors.

tFS: Where you always interested in PR?

TA: I had never thought of doing PR, but Tia and Fiona Cibani of Ports 1961 saw great potential, and took a chance with me that changed the course of my life. I am forever grateful.

tFS: How did you end up at Ports 1961?

TA: A little over 5 years ago, after working for Ports on the men’s collection, the New York office was being staffed and I was approached to work in the PR department. At that time there was no PR department, and Ports was just entering the US market, so we grew together. I am very very proud of all of the accomplishments and the global presence we have today.

tFS: What do you think makes a great publicist?

TA: Integrity, honesty, hard work, loyalty, caring, passion….the same qualities that any other job requires. I also do not believe in the publicists rhetoric of “circling back, out-sourcing and up streaming” it does not make much sense to me. Also no one is more important than the client – no one.

tFS: Many people don’t understand what PR is. Can you explain its importance?

TA: Public relations is so many things in this day and age. The only way I can really describe it is that when it is done right, PR – coupled with marketing – makes a company’s goods or services stand out to the consumer there by garnering awareness, which hopefully leads to sales. Without PR, both socially and virally (both must be nurtured), you will not be seen and therefore your product will not get sold. I often say “If nobody knows, know body cares.”

tFS: Can you describe a typical work day?

TA: There is no typical day. It changes constantly. Right now, I am planning the Ports 1961 Spring 2011 fashion show at Lincoln Center. I am also planning in-store events across the country and in Europe to support sales. I am working on Fashions Night Out, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  I live on my blackberry, and am in constant movement.  A big part of what I do is social so it feels often like I’m not working, even though I am. I mean there are strategy meetings, editorial partnering, charity collaborations, celebrity dressing, etcetera, and everything is happening at once.  It’s exciting. It is an ideal job for someone who is ADHD….just kidding.

tFS: What is the best part of your job?

TA: I really feel blessed that at this point in my life to be doing a job that I love.

 tFS: Worst part?

TA: PR can be 24/7… can be all consuming.

tFS: Is NYFW an exciting time, or too stressful to be exciting for you?

TA: It used to be a stressful time because everyone said it’s a stressful time, but I make time to enjoy the ride. I surround myself with an amazing team of professionals that I use season after season. Same casting, stylist, production etc that do their very best to make the fashion show seamless and as effortless as possible. They are low maintenance, highly efficient, and ego free, which makes my life easier. I love doing the show and all that goes with it. It is so special and exciting. I love the people and the atmosphere and the circus quality of it all. I don’t think I’ll ever be bored with it.

 tFS: As a luxury goods expert, what do you think about the future of luxury?

TA: The word luxury, like the word couture, has been overused and bastardized. There is no word at the present time that encompasses exceptional quality, craftsmanship or service, but we all know it when we see it or experience it. In my opinion, there will always be a place for true quality and craftsmanship in goods and services as people will always want the best and pay to have it

tFS: One luxury product you couldn’t live without?

TA: There is no particular product, but I consider sleep a luxury.

tFS: One luxury product you’re dying to get?

TA: The new Lanvin men’s snake skin monk strap shoes from the Fall 2010 collection……I love fashion till the end.