Being a Fashion Intern

“You’ve got to start from the bottom and work your way up.” This is one of the things I got told during my week internship at a fashion magazine.

People think that you can walk straight into the building, and you will be treated as if Anna Wintour has just entered. But we aren’t all fashion royalty, so it’s not like that. Everyone has to start with the tiny chores that keep the company going. Ugly Betty and Devil Wears Prada may be a slight exaggeration, but apart from the melodramatic entertainment value of them, they are really good depictions of how you really have to prove yourself in order to make an impression. Here’s a few things to note during your time at an internship

Always go the extra mile

Since I was only there for a week, it felt as if the editors did not want to give me too much responsibility. So the fashion assistants got the other two interns to direct me on what to do. They were on a years placement, and had been there for around two months so they understood the ins and outs of most everything. To stand out and make myself heard, I made sure to constantly ask everyone on the fashion desk if they needed me to do anything else other than returns to PR companies. This actually showed I was eager to do more around the office, and they seemed impressed with what I was doing.

Use your own initiative

Again, there seemed to be a battle with myself and the other interns. Once they started to see I was doing jobs for myself, they tried to boss me around anymore. But you got to ignore this, and do what you feel is right. Even through simple tasks like doing the returns and where you do them around the office. Everyday more and more items come into the returns section. But sometimes, instead of bringing the items from the fashion closet down to the returns pile and pile it on top of everything else, it was easier just to start bagging from the closet. This meant those items would go straight to the delivery-man, and brands would get their items faster.

Don’t be scared to talk to other people in the office

On my first day, when passing people’s desk and glancing at what they were doing on their computers it looked amazing. I was intrigued to know what they were working on, and how it contributed to the magazine. You’ve got to be bold, and just ask. Some might seem a little offish, and that is fine – they might be working towards a major deadline. Others are glad to share what they are doing. Sometimes, explaining something to somebody who hasn’t been involved with the project is a good to way to see if it makes sense. Also don’t forget to say hello to everyone, they might remember “the intern who always smiled and said hello when she passed me.”

Don’t work yourself up too much

Some of the things you might be told to do might seem to be out of your comfort zone at first, especially when you are in a building with so many professional people. Also, when calling Press Assistants asking for price inquiries, maybe going out the office to collect something or even when you are out on a photo shoot not knowing what to do. As you keep doing these things, the more comfortable you will become. After all, they always say practice makes perfect.

Enjoy it!

Being a student, work experience is one of those things that you have to do. Some people love it, and some people hate it. But the fact is, it is very difficult to find a job when you graduate with just a degree nowadays. If you are really happy with what you are doing, everyone in the office will notice. You got to show you are motivated and you thrive to do more. In the end they might ask you to come back to do even more work experience for them, or you might even be offered a job.

It’s not just good for the employer’s reputation if they take on interns.They want to see new and fresh ideas coming into the office, especially as technology is changing so rapidly. They need people who can keep up.

Photo: Tshai Thompson

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