Internships can take you far.
Whether you’re still in school or working in the field, interning has become the most trending yet prominent step that one needs to take in order to move up the hierarchy. Even your favorite designers/editors will tell you how they had to intern for several fashion houses and magazines before they could kickstart on their own.
“There’s nothing more important than to intern at a magazine during college,” says Ruth Basloe, the 25-year-old fashion editor at Cosmopolitan. While a senior at Barnard College in New York, Basloe secured an internship at Harper’s Bazaar. “It was in the features department, but I didn’t care, I just wanted to be there.” Her internship led to a job as an assistant at Redbook, and after a year she went back to Harper’s Bazaar as a market editor.
Camilla Nickerson, Vogue’s senior fashion editor, made her career by styling eccentric, in-your-face shoots for British magazines like The Face. An early peddler of heroin chic, Nickerson was soon picked up by Vogue’s Anna Wintour to work on the other side of the Atlantic.
Another seasoned fashion editor at Hearst goes as far as to say that everyone she knows in the business has interned. “You’re not going to get a job if you don’t intern,” she says flatly. “When we’re hiring for assistants, we want someone who’s already had magazine experience, and the best way to do it is while you’re at college.” If you’re not lucky enough to attend a New York City school (many of Manhattan fashion editors have degrees from Barnard, Columbia and NYU), a summer internship is a good option.
Today’s economy is forcing us to think outside the box: as much as the jobs are being created, they are also being taken away. Today, in universities and colleges, more students are enrolling into programs that allow them to be creative: fashion design, performing arts, graphic design and so on, rather than picking the traditional white collar professions. Call it the cultural crisis or the new world order, either way it is the future of our creative economy. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have our government granting funds yearly in order to support the local creatives, as well as our internship programs (including NYC’s recent “fashion moment” where mayor Bill de Blasio committed $15 million to the fashion industry in 2015.)
Coming back to my original point, interning has never been a bad thing, but now it is at its peak, thanks to Generation Y. Today, when you apply for a job, it’s not just your grades that are being considered or your undergrad studies, but rather the entire package, to see if you are actually actively involved in anything outside of your academics. An internship is the best thing on your resume that you can present to any employer; it’s instant experience.
We live in an era where we value connections (along with intelligence and passion for the field) more than getting a paycheck at the end of the week. The journey to arive at the front row of a fashion show is far from easy, but there are ways to get there, most of them beginning with an internship.
Haleema’s swag is futuristic but she still lives in the present. Either way, follow her on twitter –@LVLPLATINUM