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Saturday, April 13, 2013

How to succeed as a Fashion Intern

As Channel 4's 'The Intern' sees candidates get to grip with challenges at the headquarters of my-wardrobe.com, we've compiled some handy tips for work experience success.

Lisa Armstrong, fashion editor, Daily Telegraph:

The ideal intern will possess the following... Eagerness, initiative, intelligence, discretion, flair, accuracy, stand-out writing talents. Oh and humility - well no one said it was going to be easy did they?

Most outstanding task mastered by an intern ... A 2,000 word feature that read beautifully.
Biggest intern 'blunder'... Suffice to say the worst blunders always arise from hubris. Anything else you can forgive on the basis of inexperience.

I interned at... Successful Slimming; Company and New Health... I knew way too much about diets even then.

Golden rules for interning... I always say this, but it bears repeating: be nice, be humble, work your socks off....

Charlie Harrington, fashion director, Stella Magazine:

My ideal intern is... not a shopaholic, but someone that has ultimate respect for the designers, image makers, and opinion formers that make it such an exciting industry to work in.

As an intern, it's important to... Have realistic expectations of what may be asked of you; It's doubtful you'll be asked to style a cover shoot, or be put forward to become America's Next Top Model. It is fair to say that going to the post room, and packing up luggage for fashion shoots is a reality. Shoots are all about making the model look great - so behind-the-scenes there is a lot of leg work to make this happen. As an intern, it is great to look the part, but your own personal appearance should not impede your professionalism.

I interned at... Drapers, where I learnt about the nuts and bolts of the industry. I was lucky enough to be sent to Paris to courier film back from the runway shows, and get it back to the lab last thing at night, so I gained access to amazing shows like John Galliano and Vivienne Westwood. The Independent had me in my student years, and I was lucky that they started commissioning me while I was still in the final year. My time at Vogue was a lovely insight into the world of glossies.

Belinda White, digital fashion editor, The Telegraph:

My ideal intern will possess... Common sense, initiative, a positive and proactive attitude, confidence (not to be confused with over-confidence...), a good work ethic and a willingness to go the extra mile with ideas and, when necessary, their time.

The biggest intern blunder in general... is being surly or openly bored - it's not all fun and glamour, sadly. One girl kept saying "Do I really need to do that?" and, "wouldn't it be better to do this instead [rolls eyes]?". We later saw her cleaning tables in a cafĂ©…

I interned... for 9 months at Slim Barrett jewellers which is a small but successful family business, so I managed to get a broad range of experience helping with everything from packing orders to designing a look book, to meeting the press. Then I came to the Telegraph Magazine for nine months and learnt all about the other side of the business assisting a tough fashion editor. I must have done something right because I ended up with a job at The Telegraph when I graduated a year later.

My golden rules for interning... It's a tough one because it depends so much on who you're interning for. Some people are very needy and don't like you to leave your desk/always be on the end of the phone. At the other extreme, some want you to be remarkably efficient without ever being seen or heard. That's why you need initiative - or better still a sixth sense about what to do, how and when! The one's who succeed for me are always the proactive, helpful ones.

Daniela Agnelli, fashion director, Telegraph Magazine

My ideal intern… would have a nice demeanour, be very calm and possess great taste. When I interview an intern I always ask about their passion for the fashion world, it's the most important thing.

I'd advise interns to… ask as many questions as possible while on the job, and to be as flexible as possible; styling isn't always about working from 9-5. Also, it's not about money, it's really a dedication working in this business - you have to love it!

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