Things I Learnt During My First Internship in Fashion

Long hours and hard work are a lifestyle and a good concealer your best friend. I had the naïvest misconception of the industry – until I became an intern.

I could start this article by saying how inspiring it is to work in the Fashion industry; how this is a fast-paced and beautiful world, made up of exclusive events, sneak peeks of new collections, expensive hotels, free designer samples, inspiring co-workers and glamorous photo shoots. Truth is, the fashion industry ain’t for the weak: what Carrie Bradshaw bragged so much about is only the tip of a giant iceberg. Behind the image portrayed by magazines and movies, there’s everything but glamour. Long hours and hard work are a lifestyle and a good concealer your best friend. I had the naïvest misconception of the industry – until I became an intern.

Generally, I consider myself quite lucky, as I have never been on a typical unpaid, pro-slavery-of-students internship (this is still legal in the UK…). My first experience was back in 2014 when I became part of the order entry team in the wholesale department at Tom Ford. In a nutshell, my job was to offer support to the wholesalers during the sales campaigns and at the end of each one, insert the orders onto the brand’s internal platform. My average working day was set to start at 8 am, when at my arrival I was regularly “kidnapped” by make-up artists and hairdressers – we weren’t allowed to do our own hair and make-up. Then I would squeeze myself into a not-so practical uniform that included a blazer, silk blouse, tailored trousers and open-toe pumps with a ridiculous kitten heel. The day was generally very hectic and emergencies and nervous breakdowns were regular; the pace would then slow down by 7 pm when the clients were finally all gone. We were given the time and peace to finish up with the orders and prepare for the following day.

This experience opened my eyes on what lies behind the glossy names of luxury brands. Later, I worked for other renowned companies and again they all confirmed it: if you want to secure yourself a job in Fashion, you’ll have to be great. This means knowing what you are doing at all times, having a head for high pressure, being able to stand up for yourself and not letting others bring you down (Miranda Priestly is an established reality).

Magazines and fashion houses would be non-existent without their talented interns. You just have to figure out if it’s worth the candle.

Words by Anna Abatelillo Photo by Giada Graziano
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