It’s that old catch 22. No one will hire you because you have no experience, but you can’t get experience because no one will hire you.
“How then will I get work?” I hear you ask. Say hello to your best frenemy, the Internship.
I know what you are thinking. Meryl Streep made you dread this idea, forcing her fashion assistants to run around picking up coffees all day. In reality, it's not that bad, I hate to say it but I think the movie actually dramatises the idea, crazy huh?
Interning definitely has its perks. You can get your work published, find valuable experience in the industry and if you are lucky, the holy grail of perks, freebies.
Ahh the office life. The the typing of computer keys, the ringing of phones in the background, the smell of some-sort of delicious baked good. This is where you will put in the hours. As glamorous as the fashion industry sounds, there is definitely a majority of time spent behind the desk, so comfy clothes are a good idea. Also, jeans with a little bit of stretch in them go along way at Fashion Journal, today we have brownies in the office.
Reporting on location:
Location, location, location. It can be extremely fun, especially when you get to go to events at no cost. Concerts, talking your way into VIP areas, free champagne and getting goodie bags are all moments where the frenemy status with your internship is definitely more reflective of the friend part (maybe even getting closer to BFFL status).
Working on location can be a great way to meet new people, and you don’t have to throw the dreaded ‘I’ word around. Talk yourself up; you have the great chance to use your company name to your advantage.
Interviews can be a pretty daunting task, but are crucial in building your confidence and can actually be pretty fun. The phone interview can be a bit of a logistical nightmare. You will definitely be delayed/put on hold/given the wrong number at some point. Calling a hotel in New York and trying to get the concierge to connect me is one strange occurrence I have had. PR love to leave you hanging, so flexibility is absolutely key.
The in-person interview is pretty great when you get the opportunity. They are usually much more relaxed and make it far easier to connect to your subject. Once again, be prepared to wait around, people don’t seem to use watches in this industry.
Working on a photoshoot is definitely not as glamorous as it sounds. Hope you are an early riser, because you will have some real early wake-ups; I’m talking 5am people. I mean it’s still dark outside when you leave the house, what’s with that?
Once you have had your first three coffees and are feeling slightly more awake, prepare to be everyone’s personal assistant. If you are on location, be ready to run back and forth. It’s actually a great way to get fit.
As an intern you also give up the right to be called by your real name. Be ready to be called every name remotely similar to yours, even if that similarity is only the first letter, or even worse, the colour of your hair (yep, I've had Blondie).
Working as a styling assistant is a pretty ace title to have, and while you will have a lot of fun on set, there is a lot of hard work. Prepare to enter into a long relationship with the steamer. It will mostly be a tale of romance and happiness, but do prepare for a few nasty feelings and a few burnt fingers. Hey, not every relationship is perfect.
Working from home:
Working from the couch or in bed is such a fun way to work, but if you procrastinate easily, this is not for you (I don’t know why I ever thought trying to work while watching The Ellen Show would be in any way productive).
Other negatives of working from home include interruptions from parents/siblings/housemates that can get a bit annoying. Lock your self away somewhere quiet and enjoy the luxury of wearing your pyjamas.
You see folks, it's not as bad as you might think. In fact there's a whole lot of perks. Oh, and I've only ever done one coffee run.