Well I have had my take as a fashion intern and now I must say, it was an interesting ride during the 6 weeks. My eyes have opened up wide to see and realize what really goes on behind the scenes of a 100-plus page magazine that women buy to read to either kill time or to check up on what’s the hottest trends in the world. It is something a girl can never imagine, especially with my Nylon magazine collection, I just can’t believe this goes on.
There is only one sentence that a fellow senior colleague said that is still rings in my mind: ‘Same shit, different month.’
Here are some things I have learned that may come in handy:
- First things first, if it is your first time interning at all. Maybe you don’t want to be too discouraged that you’re not being assigned with much work to do. Because the following week, you’d be asking yourself: ‘Really? Did I actually want the work to come?’
- Patience, you will meet your Miranda Priestly. Trust me, someone that orders you around, is not cool at all. I’m sure every magazine has someone like her. I even had the chance to spot another publication’s Miranda during my work stay… Boy oh boy, she’s scarier than the one I had to face. All you have to do is, smile, suck it up and fetch her food. Take it as a time of relaxing from sitting in the office and rotting.
- Go around asking for work, don’t let the work come to you. The senior colleagues tend to be able to sense your unwilling aura of not being interested. And if you’re not being proactive, you lose out. I once had an editor from the Men’s publication hand me a stack of paper, then with hesitation ask: “Hmm, tell me are you sure you want to do this? It’s fine you know?” I was taken aback. But I think it was because I was in a food coma that late afternoon, seemingly uninterested when he offered the task.
- It is best to keep a calendar, or even an organizer. There will be times where you need to take down what you have done and even write down when the assigned task is due, or if you have a photo shoot the following week. Sometimes you may have too much workload if you’re helping more than one editor or writer. It gets messy.
- When asked to join for lunch, JOIN THEM. Don’t be a loser. It’s nice to hear what they talk about and sometimes (most of the time) it is politics, but at least you are there so that you can learn not to be that person they are talking about.
- THEY HATE LATE WORK. They won’t admit it, but they do. I had 3 interviews to transcribe, and I took 1 day to finish them. But my fellow intern had 2 interviews and he took 1 day but submitted to her 2 hours after I did. She gave him a bite and I think the senior writer chose her favourite from then on. Yikes.
- You will have to do sourcing/pick up of the clothes from boutiques and PR offices, be professional and friendly. You will be seeing them a lot and you don’t want to be treated nastily. Beware, there will be tonnes of bags to carry, not just 2 or 3 bags of clothes from high-end labels, but too many to count. And it weighs tonnes as well.
- When you’re at photo shoots, you really need to act fast and be by the stylist’s side. Whatever he needs, you must remember where it is and be fast to pick it up. Even if you start in the morning, and the shoot is only for 4 frames, there will be 100 over shots just for the 4 frames. It can last for the whole entire day. Even better when the stylist decides to scrap the previous outfit. Tiring, very. It doesn’t just end there, you need to return the clothes right after the shot.
- Be open to making new contacts. Whenever you’re at an event, be it a media or fashion event, just go around and make new friends. Usually the publication will send you down alone, so you don’t bring your friends or go with a colleague. So what you do is talk to others and make friends! Some will really come in handy in the future. Just get their name cards and such. It will be a great opportunity to get new numbers.
- Don’t take things for granted. And they won’t take you for granted. I think as students we may tend to just not be proactive but being fed at all times. But this experience really made me go out to do things that I would be too lazy to do. I put in extra effort to make things perfect, and felt horrible when I know I could’ve done better. On the last day of being at the event, I saw how one senior colleague really appreciated my effort and I was greatly touched by how thankful he was for my contribution. I felt his sincerity and I think we have to be on the ball constantly and be willing to learn.
I hope somehow this list of things helps someone. Being in a fashion magazine is not easy at all. It is tiring and repetitive. Time flies and you don’t realize that you’ve been doing the same thing every 2 weeks with different content. Ha-ha. So I have helped in 3 issues and I see the pattern of the work. Making it fun is a choice and this experience really pushed me to be more proactive. I had fun and I was glad that with just 6 weeks I learned so much more than 6 months of being in a journalism module.