i've been interning in the fashion world for over a year now, and finally it's paid off as i have a job for next year. i thought it might be interesting or beneficial to you guys to note my personal experiences with the whole 'interning' thing, and show you it's not all doom and gloom and exploitation. if it's helpful to just one person i'll be a happy laydeeeee :)
firstly, i think it's really important to say that you shouldn't believe everything you read. the amount of times i've read articles condemning internships, branding them as exploitation and just demeaning...it would be enough to put me off, and when i landed my first internship i was absolutely terrified. whilst i'm sure there are bad experiences, i like to believe that the majority are NOT LIKE THIS. i've interned at 5 different places so i'm no expert, but every establishment has been so helpful and lovely to me. there's no devil wears prada drama, you're not expected to wear designer heels (this is actively discouraged, as you need to be comfy) and the people are generally lovely. i like to think all the people in paid positions have been interns, so understand the nerves and the desire to please, so everyone has been lovely.
i have a really strong opinion about interning as i believe it's really strengthened my CV, and i truly think that without this extra experience i wouldn't have got my job in PR. whilst a degree and education is important, you can't put a price on experience. it shows you have an insight into the industry, you've paid your dues at the bottom, and you're self-motivated enough to work for free.
the whole working for free aspect of interning is really difficult. i've been really lucky in the fact that i have family in London. i understand though that this isn't the case for everyone, and commuting everyday from another city or town can be near enough impossible, as train fares are ridiikkk! even using the oyster everyday is tough, so the financial aspect of interning for free can be so tough. it's great when internships offer you expenses, but often these come at the end of your time with them, so financially it's really hard. BUT, as stressed as i've got with this and worried i'm going to max out my overdraft, i feel that the experience outweighs this sometimes, and even if you do a week somewhere - it's better than nothing, and gives you such an amazing addition!
in articles on internships, there are a lot of comments like 'it was a waste of time...i went to do journalism and all i did was transcribe...all i did was return clothes...it was all admin' and this, personally, is irritating. you shouldn't expect to walk into a major magazine/PR firm/wherever and be presented with styling a shoot for Cara Delevingne, interviewing One Direction, or creating a major campaign for Topshop. you HAVE to do the menial work in order to get to where you want to be. sure, you're doing returns all day, but twist it on the positive - you'll learn all the PRs, and you'll get to yearn over beautiful clothes all day. yes, you might be scanning coverage, but improving your IT skills is absolutely essential to any job. transcribing an interview is KEY for the final edit, so don't knock it! everyone has to start somewhere, from small beginnings come great things, you'll appreciate it more when you get to where you want to be if you've worked hard. heck, even Kanye West interned at Fendi!
i guess what i'm trying to say is, don't knock interning for all the bad press it gets. yes, it's hard work and can be expensive, but if you get the opportunity GO FOR IT. if it's at vogue or your local newspaper, it's invaluable experience that you'll never forget. i think interning has been one of the most important stages of my life, and i like to think that it's helped me understand the industry much more.
if you'd like to read about my internships at fabulous, elle, the guardian, benefit cosmetics and new look just click away!
hope this wasn't too longwinded, and it's helped at least someone! remember to vote for me HERE for best personal style blog :) until next time xo