Back around 2010, I started thinking that a career in fashion might just be something for me as I had a soft-spot for clothing, design and fashion magazines. Besides, working in an industry that you love is a win-win for both sides, right? I was confident that devoting myself to something I was passionate about would bring me joy and would let me be the best version of myself on the work floor. At the time, I had no clue in which area of the business I wanted to specialize in as I had zero experience and was still pretty young, but I did know I wanted to be part of this dynamic and aesthetically oh-so pleasing industry.
What I also knew was that the first logical step towards getting into this industry was by interning at a local company. So back in 2010 when I had to find a full-time internship for 4 months, I applied at Addy van den Krommenacker, a well-known Dutch Haute-Couture fashion designer. One day later I was asked to come in for an interview…
At that time I knew very little about this designer, but what I did know was that he was the go-to-guy for all Dutch celebrities and Royals. Many of the celebrities he dressed, had been proclaimed best-dressed women of the Netherlands and therefore his dresses were frequently spotted at all red carpets. In 2008, one of his collections was even showcased during the final runway show of America’s Next Top model hosted by 90’s supermodel Tyra Banks. I mean, I just knew I had to get in! After he interviewed me at his showroom, he hired me on the spot and my first fashion internship was officially a fact!
So how come I ended up being hired that day? I honestly never asked him upfront about it afterward, but I am sure it was due to a combination of different factors. When I first applied, I made sure to sent out a personalized cover letter to the company in which I highlighted my interest and effectively addressed my skills and personality rather than sending out a simple copy/paste email. On the other hand, on the day of my interview, I made sure I went in well prepared by doing my research on forehand. I dressed according to the brand’s DNA and showed up with a confident attitude. Also, in the end, I made sure to ask a lot of questions about the business to bolster my interest in becoming an intern!
A year later, I had to find another internship for 7 months abroad. As I had lived in Madrid as an exchange student in 2007, I initially wanted to go back there as I had fallen in love with the Spanish capital and its fashion culture. I felt that the feminine silhouettes and sophisticated pieces that dominated the fashion landscape reflected my own sense of style very much. Also, by then my Spanish was semi-Bueno, so I felt confident in just giving it a go.
I started doing my research on Spanish designers through the Madrid Fashion Week website and afterward contacted the ones that inspired me most. I did tons of follow-up, not receiving a reply from most companies. But I wasn’t going to be discouraged and stayed persistent in my journey to find a company. Then, one day I received an answer from one of the brands I contacted telling me they were potentially interested in hiring me.
After months of sending emails back and forth with the company, I eventually landed myself a 7 months internship with the Catalan fashion designer Teresa Helbig in 2011. Teresa is an amazingly talented artist, all of her pieces resemble pure sophistication, femininity, and elegance. Besides that, she is one of the most down to earth persons I have got the privilege to learn from and has been an amazing mentor to me. Nowadays she’s conquering Hollywood, and her stunning designs can even be seen on International celebrities like Priyanka Chopra, Gwen Stefani, and Olivia Wilde. During my internship with her, I felt more in place than ever and it was then that I knew for sure I wanted to walk this path in the future.
So these were the first steps I made to break into the fashion industry. The best piece of advice I can give anyone who wants to get into this sector is to be persuasive and to hold on to a clear vision of your future goals. Be creative and confident in your approach when applying at companies and make sure to show your personality by using examples of what makes you unique as a person! Know that the fashion industry can be tough, so don’t get discouraged when you send out tons of applications and only receive one reply. Just remember that if you’re passionate about it, it’s worth pursuing it and eventually the right company will come knocking on your door!
In my upcoming article, I will explain more about the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as an intern and where I am in my career now years later… Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on how to break into fashion nowadays! Make sure to comment on it in the section below. ♥