I know i've spoken about it a lot in the past, but i've been seeing a lot more about fashion interning and how bad it is...so i thought i'd post another little something about it to just back it up :)
As I hurried around Oxford Street during the busy Christmas period carrying 5 massive bags of returns, I didn’t feel fury like Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada. I didn’t feel exploited like the newspapers blast every day. I felt elated, lucky that I was getting such an amazing opportunity (and a little hungry as I passed Lola’s cupcakes).
I have been interning in fashion for a year, and I think it’s time someone stood up for interning. Interning has got a bit of a bad name as of late, with many horror-stories saying how interns have been made to mop up their bosses sick…had items thrown at their head…and numerous other horrific tales of woe. I sympathise, truly I do. But, I want to offer a realistic view of interning.
Yes. It’s expensive. Yes. It’s tiring. Yes. Some jobs are a little mundane. But, this is what Drake meant when he said ‘Started at the Bottom now we here!’ Every fashion editor, assistant and stylist has been where you are, packing up returns and making tea. You have to start somewhere (unless you’re extremely lucky/ your parents own a magazine) and interning is the best way to earn your stripes. The skills you learn are transferrable into any career, and you gain a priceless insight into a notoriously hard industry to crack.
My experiences have always been amazing. I’ve been on shoots with celebrities, seen amazing clothes that I would never have been allowed near if I wasn’t an intern, been in lifts with editors who I adore, and was able to oh-so-pretentiously say ‘I’m just at Manolo Blahnik in Chelsea, I’ll be over to David Bailey’s studio in an hour’. True story.
Work experience is becoming critical to have on any CV. Having a degree is just not enough anymore, with employers wanting some real world experience before they hire you. Unfair? Yes. However, this is the real world, and that’s just what it’s like unfortunately. Interning during your university / school holidays is such an amazing way to get ahead, and also gain some contacts in the industry while you’re there.
Bad internships are out there. I’ve been in places where I’ve been sat having nothing to do for over an hour, where no one gave me jobs even when I asked. Instead of moaning about it, use your initiative, go and tidy something up…search social media…or, if all else fails, do your Uni work on the sly (I finished a whole project once). They’re blessings in disguise, either showing you that this career path isn’t for you, or pushing you to do your best in a bad situation.
I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t judge a book by its cover. Fashion is not The Devil Wears Prada, and interns are not spat at. They’re often valued, and treated when cake comes to the office, which is often. If that’s not an incentive to get an internship then I don’t know what is.