Internships / Jobs Resources

The Truth About Being a Fashion Intern

Is it really like the Devils Wears Prada…?

Over the past 5 years, I have been lucky enough to work in fashion. I have work retail jobs, as well as, internships in New York City. Having interned in showrooms, a design room, a wholesale team, and fashion magazine. I summarize primarily 6 points you need to know about having a fashion internship:

1) Unpaid

Every fashion internship I have worked has been unpaid. (I have worked over 5 different ones)

Unless it’s a large corporation, such as, Bloomingdale’s, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, etc. You will receive a paid check. The paid rate for these large corporations, however, is usually a mini wage ranging from 12-18 dollars an hour.

If you are an unpaid intern try to ask for your traveling, lunches,gas, etc to be covered.

2) High expectations

The fashion industry is a fast environment and many of your co-workers will be busy and might not have the time to teach you specific skills, such as, WordPress, Photoshop, CADS,etc — get to know it before you start so than coworkers don’t feel they have to spend time teaching you. You will stand out!

3) Stand up for yourself

Sometimes unrealistic expectations are placed on you, if you can’t complete them tell your superior in person. It’s important to have good communication with them and they will respect you for knowing what you can and can’t complete.

Personal example: I was asked to work Monday-Sunday… unpaid. I had to drive very far and do a lot of physical work. I spoke with my superior and said I couldn’t do this. They completely understood. When you’re unpaid it more on your own terms than you think.

4) You have nothing to lose

 You only receive if you ask! If you want to learn more, ask to sit in on a meeting or shadow your boss for the day. It’s up to you to ask and the worst thing that could happen is they say no.

Personal example: When working in NYC I knew Selena Gomez was going to be on 5th Av for a meet and great. I spoke with my boss and said I think this would be great for our Instagram/ Insta Story, so she let me leave work to go look for her! I found her!!

 5) Ask smart questions

 Many of the times co-workers are busy and the answer to your question may be in an email or on an intern guide. Look before asking, looking shows you know how to do research.

 6) Do something with your free time

Although the fashion environment is fast-pace there can be slower time periods. If there is honestly nothing for you to do or you’re waiting for instruction, do something! Whether that is update your resume, do research, read the news, brainstorm ideas, or even do the dishes in the office sink! This shows you are always activity trying to learn!

Yes, there can be many glamour things about working in fashion such as getting free clothes or going to an event but there is a lot of hard work behind the glamour. Working hard at a fashion internship will allow you to know if this industry is really for you.

For more information about fashion internships check out: Check this out!


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