In my last article, I wrote about how and where I set my first steps in the fashion industry. Now it’s time to share with you the 9 most important lessons I learned from my time back as a fashion intern. Here they come!
- Put yourself out there (even if you don’t have work experience)
Put yourself out there and be persuasive when it comes to finding an internship! Know that there is never the right moment to apply and that most companies look for interns all year long. Since you are applying for the most junior position out there, no one expects from you to have prior experience. Only apply at companies you are genuinely interested in and make sure to always express your motivation in the most professional and authentic way.
- Look representative and dress up for the job every single day
Make sure to dress up for the job especially on your first day, as it will be the first impression the company gets from you. But don’t overdo it and only wear ensembles you feel comfortable in whilst positively representing the company. Reassure you understand the brand’s DNA and dress towards it every day as you never know who you might run into, or if you’ll be invited to an event after office-hours!
- Be humble and work hard on all tasks
Always be humble and put effort into all that you do no matter how small or insignificant a task may seem. Always aim to make the best café-au-lait for clients, make the best photocopies, and reorganize the showroom in the most visual way. It shows you are a hard worker who pays attention to small details, and you’re willing to even execute the smallest tasks with pride. This mindset can set you aside positively from co-workers throughout your professional career. Also, don’t worry too much if you are not getting instant recognition for all the hard work you are putting in. Trust that your supervisor is taking note of everything that you do and that the recognition will come back to you in a different way.
- Be proactive and ask tons, tons of questions!
People in fashion have very busy schedules with lots of unexpected changes during the day. It’s important to be proactive and bring something to the table rather than waiting for orders and becoming an obstacle holding up other people’s time. Be observant in the beginning to get a good understanding of which areas you could provide support in. Also, if you don’t know how to do a particular task, then ask all the right questions on how to do it so you can carry it out in the most time-efficient way and you don’t need to ask for help the next time.
- Make mistakes (now is the time) and don’t be afraid to receive criticism
It is completely normal to make mistakes, especially in the beginning, and know that people actually expect you to make them. What’s important is how you manage yourself after a screw-up. Expect to receive critics, but always see it as something constructive to do better in the future. If a certain approach or execution didn’t work out the first time, then don’t be afraid to try a different one the next time.
- Run errands like a pro
As a fashion intern, you are probably going to fill your days running around town delivering dresses and packages, picking up clothing from the dry cleaner, buying fashion magazines and coffees. Make sure to spend your time as efficiently as possible, as there are always tons of things to do back at the office. A small tip, bring a nice extra pair of shoes and ditch the heels to comfortably make your away around town!
- Say yes to all networking events
If you’re lucky to be invited to events, make sure you say yes to all! Not only does it show you got team-spirit and that you are willing to sacrifice your personal time, but it’s always a great opportunity to mingle with people from the industry and for putting faces to names. From fashion week until cocktail parties and magazine events, make sure to attend them all. Don’t expect people to be necessarily interested in who you are, but just make sure you are interested in them to grow out your network. Take note of who everyone is, drink a glass of champagne, and enjoy whilst keeping it professional at all times.
- Try to see as many areas of the business as possible
Make sure you get to see all facets of the business by being involved in different areas such as PR, communication, sales, marketing, design, logistics, and even finance. Getting a glimpse of everything enables you to have a global overview of how a company comes together and also helps you to understand which areas suit you most.
- Always ask for a recommendation
Always leave an internship with a letter of recommendation from your direct supervisor as it gives you credibility and a competitive edge for future applications. In most cases, if you successfully fulfilled your internship period, it should be no problem getting a recommendation. Having that said, never expect to get one without asking!
Needless to say, there is so much more to tell about being a fashion intern, but these were for me the 9 most memorable lessons from back then. In the end, just make sure to always show an eagerness to learn and be willing to constantly improve yourself to take away new and improved skills, a better sense of direction in terms of your career and of course a more attractive resume afterward.
And never forget that internships can be a great gateway to attain your dream job in fashion. So do make sure to intern at places where you could potentially position yourself in the future or that could ultimately lead you to a position at your dream company.
Nowadays, I am working in the communication department for the Spanish fashion brand MANGO and without a doubt, all my past internships along with previous work experience have played a major part in helping me get where I am today. So yeah, do make sure to intern!
Image sources: Giphy.com, MTV Networks, MTV The City