Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Intern Tip #3 - Say yes more!

If you want to get the best intern experience you have to force yourself out of your shell and say yes more!

 Danny Wallace's book Yes Man is all about taking the challenge of saying yes more!
image from jimcarreyonline.com

I am in no way a confident or outgoing person, but when you're trying to make relationships and contacts its important to force yourself to act confident and fun around other people. Making conversation and opening yourself up to people will not only make them trust and like you, but also (particularly at an internship or work) will help you to gain new opportunities. I'm still perfecting how to be a social butterfly but I'm trying my hardest to say yes to every opportunity I'm given. And so far it seems to be working out quite nicely...  

Monday, 11 July 2011

What happens when you ruin a £200 blouse

So I assisted on my first ever outdoor fashion on Saturday and it was a great experience, with the exception of one mini almost-meltdown moment...

It was all going well to begin with. We used the photographers house as a base, and while the model was having her hair and make-up done the stylist was getting the looks in order. I was given the tasks of ironing all the shirts and blouses so they looked crisp and new on the model. Easy! I thought. After being given strict instructions to use no water in the iron and to iron everything through a special sheet I was slightly puzzled but ready to go. It took a lot longer to iron things with no steam and so one shirt was taking about 20 mins. The stylist also had specific instructions about what parts of the clothes to iron. She was going for the androgynous look with a lot of buttoned up shirts and so special attention had to be paid to the collars.

It was all going fine until I reached one particularly tricky £200 leopard print blouse. I was ironing away and then all of a sudden the sheet moved and I accidentally ironed directly onto the blouse. Oh well I thought and lifted the iron up without thinking. To my horror, when I lifted it up a giant iron-shaped hole was left in the blouse. I looked at the iron and saw the leopard print had completely stuck to it. Shit! I started to panic as I realised there was nothing that could be done to fix it and there was no way I could or should try to hide my mistake. I called over the stylist and thought for sure she was going to go ape shit. She'd probably want me to pay for the blouse and then tell me never to contact her again. My interning days were numbered.

 Remember no matter how scary someone may seem - they're human too!
image from fuckyeahdevilwearsprada tumblr

To my relief however she was calm, cool and collected. She told me not to worry and that everyone has an ironing horror story - its a fashion intern right of passage. She made the model try the shirt on again and tucked into trousers it was fine, and so the look was sort of saved!

The fashion industry is often portrayed as bitchy and ruthless, but you just need to remember that everyone started as an intern once and they understand what its like. If you accidentally break or ruin something the chances are they've seen it happen a hundred times before, and have probably done it once themselves too. As long as you tell them as soon as it happens, apologise lots and make sure you never do it again, they should forgive and forget...

Friday, 8 July 2011

Intern Tip #2 - Pack that mac

A newly learnt tip for you today...if your going on an outdoor shoot in the UK (no matter what month it is) pack a rain mac.

 These sexy men from the Burberry A/W 11/12 show know the importance of the plastic mac
image from hypemeanseverything.com

I'm off to help out on a outdoor fashion shoot tomorrow and whilst I was gathering all my things together in prep for the morning I overhead the weather forecast on TV. Sunny with scattered showers. Now anywhere else in the world that would mean exactly that: sunshine with a spot of rain, but in good old blighty what it really means is that it will most definitely piss down tomorrow.  While I never go anywhere without my trusty umbrella it's not exactly practical to go to a shoot and try to help out whilst holding an umbrella in one hand, and so I was faced with a dilemma. I need to be dry but have my hands free. Then I remembered the trusty pac-a-mac.

I haven't had a pac-a-mac since my primary school days and so I've ended up having to borrow my brother's Duffer of St George one, which is masses too big. So my tip to you all today is if you ever have to go on an outdoor UK shoot, even if it's blisteringly sunny outside, bring a pac-a-mac. Just in case...

Home alone - and interning!

Today I've been interning entirely from home. How is that possible, you ask? Well particularly with fashion journalism its extremely easy and often more convenient. Normally I get sent a list of tasks to do, which could be anything from picture research to writing trend reports, I complete them and then email them back, simple. 

Interning from home is great in some ways, you get to sit at home in your pyjamas all day, you don't have to pay for travel into London and you can work at your own pace, yet it also has a lot of downsides. One of these I felt the true force of today. As one of the fashion people I intern for is away at the Bread and Butter trade show in Berlin I was given the task of writing some trend reports from home for her. I completed the tasks last night and felt happy in the knowledge I could upload them to her idisk in the morning and have a free day to myself - joy! However things weren't as easy as they seemed. Every time I tried to upload the file it said there was an error and after a good few hours of constant trying, internet researching and turning my pc off and on again I still couldn't figure out what was wrong. Eventually the woman gave me a contact who helped me fix the problem but I couldn't help thinking this never would have happened if I'd have been in the office with her!

If your not a computer whizz then interning from home often leaves you stuck with weird pc problems, which can be super frustrating yet normally have really simple solutions. If you were interning in an office these would fixed with a quick call to IT, but interning from home you have to figure it out the hard way. This is all good practice for the 'real world' but I do wonder if sometimes interning from home is necessarily the best option. Another key part of interning that you miss out on when working from home is building contacts. Office chit chat and conversations over morning coffee are vital in building bridges and connections, and I often feel like I'm missing out on this when the only communication I have with other people all day is via email. While I know you should take every intern opportunity you can I'm not sure if I've picked the right path by agreeing to do so much interning from home...

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Intern Tip #1 - Pump that iron

One tip I'd give to any wannabe intern - pump some iron!

 Filled with clothes these heavy buggers are an interns worst nightmare
image from scattysquirrel.co.uk

Today my interning consisted mainly of unglamorously lifting large laundry bags of vintage clothes from one place to another. Onto a train, off a train, down a flight of stairs, up a flight of stairs... Being a fashion intern you're often given the joyous task of carrying heavy quantities of clothes around and so you definitely need strong arms to survive. Today I was interning for a well known blogger (yes even they have interns now), helping her to select clothes for a photo shoot. I accompanied her to an amazing vintage warehouse, got a quick tour and peep at some of the clothes but then it was on with the camel-like carrying duties. My arms weren't aching too much  as I'm used to lugging things - thanks to my wonderful (yeah right) retail job - but its still more psychical work than most of the fashion world do in a week! Whilst carrying stuff may not that fun or intellectually stimulating its just one of those things that you've got to do, so excuse me while I go pump some metal before bed...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Leave your social life at the door...

Hello, my name is fashioninterngirl and as you've probably guessed already - I am a fashion intern. But what exactly is a fashion intern? Well for those of you that don't know I'm basically someone who works for free for a fashion company/publication/brand/person in order to gain experience, and I can be required to do anything from make their tea to assist them on a photo shoot. I'm currently at the beginning of my interning journey having only done it a few times before but I'm sure I'll be a veteran before long. I've started this blog so I can chart my progress, share what I learn and hopefully entertain a few people along the way too!

Along with interning I'm also a student, shop assistant, student magazine editor, girlfriend and workaholic - (evidently why I'm writing this at 11.50pm on a Tuesday night). All together these elements can be a struggle to balance and sometimes when a birthday and business meeting collide can make a lethal combination. While my life isn't perfect it's often interesting and unusual, so if you want a glimpse into what breaking into the fashion industry is really like be sure to follow me on my fashion journey...