How To Get An Internship In The Fashion Industry
I'm so excited for another addition to my career series! This post will be helpful to you if the following scenarios sound familiar: You’ve been reading magazines since you were little. You have an article about the latest trends from fashion week saved in a Word doc on your desktop. Your friends stop by your closet before a date to borrow an outfit. You watched Lauren and Whitney intern at Teen Vogue on The Hills and thought, “I could do that!”
You want to intern in the fashion industry. Before we talk about getting an internship, you should get familiar with what kinds of opportunities are out there. I had four fashion internships in college and they were all super different, so once you find out what kind of fashion internship you’re interested in getting, you can start from there. Here are some of the biggest areas of the industry that you might be deciding between:
An internship with a fashion designer is a great place to start. Most designers have small teams and you get to work very closely with them to discover the elements that go into making a collection.
Tasks include: sourcing fabrics and hardware, organizing mood boards, sitting in on sessions with fit models, lots of trips to Mood
Great if you want to be a: designer, stylist, pattern-maker, textile designer, production manager
An internship with a stylist will teach you so much about the unspoken rules of fashion. Stylists are the ones who make clothing come alive, and how to make it look good on any body type.
Tasks include: organizing a stylist’s kit, calling in clothing for shoots or events, organizing and steaming clothing, on-set assistance, assisting at fittings, holding safety pins
Great if you want to be a: designer, stylist, fashion editor
Interning for the fashion department of a magazine is a truly life-changing experience. You're constantly emailing back and forth with PR companies and making sure that garments enter and exit the closet in one piece.
Tasks include: making market appointments, tracking clothing as it comes in and out of the closet, organizing racks of clothing, garment maintenance
Great if you want to be a: fashion editor, blogger, freelance writer, stylist
Admittedly the one area of fashion I have never dipped my feet into! PR Is basically the opposite of editorial. Everything you did at a magazine, you do the opposite at the PR end.
Tasks include: assisting when editors visit showrooms, tracking samples as they go in and out of the office, organizing racks of clothing, assistance at events, coordination with brands
Great if you want to be a: publicist, account manager, stylist, event planner
One of the best ways to share your love of fashion is to write about it. Fashion writers get to talk about trends and meet lots of awesome people who work in the industry.
Tasks include: research, knowing fashion history, interviewing people in the industry, reporting on trends
Great if you want to be a: freelance writer, blogger, fashion editor, social media editor
One of the most famous lines that I hear in this industry is that you have to have experience to get experience. If you're just starting out this can be tricky: how can you get in if no one will let you? Make sure that you highlight the things that you've done that relate to that field, even if you've never had a fashion internship before. The thing that impressed my boss at Marie Claire enough to hire me as a fashion market intern was based on the fashion show I produced at my college. I explained how I tracked samples when we received them and returned them to the designers, how I created a rehearsal schedule, and how I constantly communicated with my 20 team members. Even though I had never worked at a magazine before, I was able to prove that I had the skills to handle similar tasks. Once you secure one internship in fashion, the others will come much easier.
This brings up another great point: when you're building your portfolio to apply for these experiences, keep in mind that you should be adjusting it for each different area of the fashion industry. A designer may not be that interested in a piece you wrote for a school's website, but they'll love hearing about how you managed a team of five people and made sure you met their deadlines, the same way a magazine hiring you for a fashion features internship may not care about your Instagram feed, but a stylist will want to see examples of your personal style.
Where to look for internship postings:
Have any of you had an internship in the fashion industry? If there's anything I didn't answer about how to get a fashion internship, ask me in the comments!