Careers

The 14 dos and don’ts of being a fashion intern

This is what your boss wants you to know without having to tell you...

Fashion intern rules

1. Get ready to do the most boring tasks in the office.

We know, it doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? You finally get the call that you’ve got the internship, you’re imagining how glamorous it will be and you’re boiling with excitement at the idea of all the freebies you’ll be taking home at the end of the day! Well we’re sorry to bust your bubble (we blame The Devil Wears Prada) but a fashion internship is pretty much the opposite of that. Keeping in mind, you are now the staffer that’s at the bottom of the food chain and that usually means you’ll be made to do all of the jobs that no one else on the pay roll wants to do. Get ready to be stuck in a cupboard full of clothes all day, to be packing and unpacking bags and boxes non-stop and going for coffee runs whenever necessary. If you’re lucky, you might even get to do some filing! We know it doesn’t sound fun AT ALL, but trust us when we tell you that we ALL started out in that role and it’s nothing personal. Prove you can do all of the shitty (but important, nonetheless) jobs to perfection and soon enough you’ll be given some more fun responsibilities (we promise!).

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**2. Wear comfortable shoes – heels just will not work.*Oh how we WISH someone told this to us on our first day of interning! Nothing can prepare you for the amount of potential running around you will be doing. This gig is probably one of the most active you’ll ever have and you’ll barely get a second to actually take a seat. So keep that in mind when choosing your footwear for the day. If you have feet of steel and can handle running around the city in high heels for 8 hours straight, then go right ahead and work it, sister. But if you’re anything like us and your ankles start to buckle after just a few short hours, get a head start and opt for the funky flat styles instead. You can still be totally chic in a pair of loafers or brogues and hey,* white sneakers are actually REALLY on trend right now, so don’t be scared to tone it down a bit. Trust us, your tired little feet will thank us.

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3. This may be a “fashion office” but it is still an office – your short shorts and crop tops don’t belong.

Ok we TOTALLY get it! You’re in the ~fashion world~ now and you really want to show these people just how stylish you are. But the one thing you’ve always got to remember is that even though you’re working in fashion, you’re still stepping into a professional work space. Ripped denim shorts, crop tops that show your stomach and underwear poking out of your waistband really aren’t acceptable outfit choices for ANY workplace, including a fashion office. Prove how fashionable you are by testing your styling techniques and keep things polished, sharp and office appropes.

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**4. Take some initiative!**This will be the one quality that your new employers will be looking for during your time with them. Keep in mind, you’re working for some of the busiest people in the game and they’re usually juggling a million things at once. So before you ask them if they’ve “seen a green knitted cardigan lying around” in a room that is literally jam packed full of sample clothes, make sure you check those racks 4 or 5 times yourself, then check again, then look in the strangest places and then if it still isn’t turning up, move on to the next thing so you don’t waste time on one thing, then if that little green cardigan still hasn’t shown up by the end of the day think about asking them if they’ve seen it. Chances are, it will pop up as you work your way around the room. Double chances are your bosses have just as much a clue about that little green cardigan as you do. See what you can do before you throw them another ball to juggle. (Note: the cardigan is an analogy. You may not have a cardigan specific query).

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**5. Say “YES” with a big fat smile on your face – EVERY. TIME.**So remember how we were telling you that you have to do all of the boring jobs around the office? Well this tip relates to that. After a few weeks or months of interning you might just feel like every day is Groundhog Day and you aren’t getting anywhere. But trust us when we tell you, your bosses are on the lookout. They’re watching how you approach each task, so if you greet every menial request with a big ol’ smile and a “can do” attitude, you’re going to climb fast to the top of that ladder. And that means you’ll be the first person that comes to mind when someone asks them for real employee recommendations. Nice girls and guys ALWAYS finish first in this race.

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**6. Work fast.** Time is always of the essence, guys! You’ve got to work faster than you’ve ever worked before. If you get sent out to pick something up – RUN. If you need to get that cupboard emptied before COB – pack double-time! Even though you’re “at the bottom of the food chain”, everyone is relying on you to make the ground work happen so they can complete their jobs. You literally are a super hero! So the faster you move, the faster everyone moves.

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**7. Don’t go around telling everyone you now work for such and such fashion office.*We know you’re probably SUUUUUUPER excited that you’ve got your foot in the door, and so you should be! This is a hard gig and you have every right to be proud. But make sure you’re telling people the right story. There is nothing worse than your boss hearing from someone on the street that you said you now work for their company. The reality is, you intern* for that office and there is a big difference between the two. Keep this in mind when you’re updating your social accounts as well. Telling everyone via Facebook and Instagram that you’re “Employed by XXX” won’t look good if your boss stumbles across your personal pages.

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**8. When you hear of people resigning (like the editor) don’t ask if you can apply for that job.**If you’re new to this whole internship thing, get ready for the long haul. Some people intern for months, even YEARS before they get offered a junior position, and that’s just the name of the game. When you hear that people in high positions are resigning, now is not the time to put your hand up. Just keep in mind you have a ladder to climb, and skipping a few rungs from intern to, say, editor-in-chief is a little bit unrealistic. Your time WILL come, you’ve just got to stick at it and get a few years’ experience under your belt first.

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9. Don’t call in “sick” the day after a long weekend – we’re not stupid.
OK, fine, we’ve all done it. Called in sick or with a “family emergency” after a few too many vinos on that sunny long weekend. But because we’ve all done it, we also know when you’re doing it. Calling in sick after a long weekend or a public holidays SCREAMS hangover (and be careful about the photos you posted to Instagram the night before). If you genuinely aren’t feeling well, it’s always best to let your employer know the night before. Even if you just give them a heads up that you’re feeling a bit shady but you’ll see how you’re feeling in the morning is a great way to a) give your boss a chance to find alternative help if necessary and b) show your boss that you are a forward-thinker and always have the whole team in mind. These are EXCELLENT qualities in any intern and will always go down better than a text at 9am saying “I can’t make it in today.”

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**10. Keep your intern-related social media posts appropriate and TRUTHFUL.**This may sound really obvious but believe us when we say it has been known to happen. Firstly, don’t write a blog or status update about how AWEFUL your internship is. Chances are, it could be really awful, but if that is the case – QUIT! Secondly, make sure your posts are honest. If you are assisting a stylist on a photo shoot, don’t post a photo saying that YOU are styling the shoot. Like we said, it sounds obvious, but it has been known to happen.

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**11. Remember your place.**The best quality any intern can have is humility. Being humble and knowing you’re at the bottom of the food chain, but still coming to work every day with a smile and the eagerness to learn will be what gets you through. ONE DAY you’ll be invited to social events, media previews and maybe even a Fashion Week show, but for now, you just need to remember that your time will come. Until then, work hard, keep your head down, keep your eye on the prize and just do what you’ve got to do to bag yourself that full-time position.

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**12. Be excited and enthusiastic about being there!**You know what says “employable” more than anything else? A GREAT ATTITUDE! Don’t ever think that your employers aren’t super grateful that you’re giving up your own time to be there every day, potentially unpaid. They have been in the same position as you so they TOTALLY get how real the struggle can be at times. But if you stride on in to that office every morning with a big ol’ smile on your face and greet everyone with a cheery “good morning!” you’ll be sending all the right vibes for the day ahead and everyone will be super happy to see you day in day out.

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**13. Keep some things a mystery…**You may hear your bosses gossiping between themselves about how they had a big night or went on a hot date, but that’s not a cue for you to overshare your life. They’ve probably been working together for years! So don’t feel like you need to tell them too much about your personal life too soon. One day you’ll have a stronger bond with your co-workers, but for now, just keep it strictly business. Don’t elaborate on how much you drank over the weekend or how you came straight to work from a one night stand's house as it’s a little TMI so early in the game. On that note as well, if you are a smoker, don’t come into work smelling of smoke. It’s not a great smell to bring into an office with you, especially at 9am in the morning!

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**14. Keep the chatter to a minimum with the other interns.**The best part about interning is that you will probably be doing it with a whole other bunch of girls and guys who are in your shoes, so chances are you’ll be making friends for life! But sometimes when you get a bit comfortable with each other your conversations can start to get a little too personal and a little too loud. We don’t mind if you have a little chat as you work throughout the day, but don’t let it become a sorority party in the cupboard! Keep the noise to a minimum so that everyone else can concentrate on getting their own work done.

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