Photo Credit: Graham Blackall

Photo Credit: Graham Blackall

How To Get an Internship

Weather you are a young and inexperienced professional or a seasoned veteran, we all have to start somewhere. Where exactly is the starting point and how do we obtain our dreams? This article evaluates the baby steps to getting to an Internship working in the fashion industry. Also an interview with Leah Veal, a fashion stylist and creative consultant and editor of Media Student Life blog, Leah shares her story about how she began her career as an Intern and what it’s like to work in the fashion industry.

Step One: Education

According to an article written on Artbistro.monster.com, their advice for becoming a fashion designer is having an associates or bachelors degree in fashion. This is the beginning on the journey of proving how passionate and driven you are in a very competitive industry. The article also states that you must “excel in creativity” and you can explore your creativity in college. You will also learn how to sew as well as sketching your creations in order to bring them to life.

Leah enlightens us, “To find employment as a stylist one would need a few things: an unnatural passion for fashion not just in the material sense but also in details like clothing construction, fabric, fit of clothing, must have business acumen, excellent communication skills, thick skin to be able to brush off rejection, set backs or disappointments and persevere, creativity, be able to reference a wide range things from pop culture to classic fine art and everything in between. Then there is the education either formal or non-formal. Read fashion websites and blogs for free online. Find out what the industry is buzzing about.

Step Two: Create your Portfolio

Create several versions of your portfolio. Start out by putting together a binder showcasing your artwork wrapped in shiny sheet covers. Add an additional gesture for your potential employer by printing out a copy of your cover letter, resume, and a letter of recommendation. Then take your packet to Fed Ex for a spiral bound for under $10, which also includes options for transparent covers. Leave the spiral bound packet with the employer along with a CD of multimedia projects you may have. Remember to build your personal brand by adding extra touches such as a fancy font and color for your name that is on everything you make from your website, resume, to your business cards.

Leah’s said, “You should get a portfolio together showing your ideas visually is key. All you need is a point and shoot camera to start but read free online photography tutorials to learn how to take good photos, lighting and angles are important to make great creative pictures. Once you have practiced and have your technique perfected, get together your friends to style them. Start out by taking photographs wearing your designs or styling, then add the photos to your portfolio online.”

Step Three: Volunteer for Networking

As a protégé through a company called American Corporate Partnerships (ACP) in Dallas, Texas, a mentor explained how to work in an industry without the work experience. She suggested volunteering for a company that you want to work for to network for potential opportunities.

Step Four: Online Personal Brand

In a digitally driven world, you will be competing with young, techy savvy individuals in the savage race to become a fashion designer. You can make your personal brand stronger by matching your images from your website onto your social media. To promote your brand, you can reach a larger audience by having the same information on a variety of websites.

Leah informs us to, “buy a domain name and invest in professional business cards from places like Office Depot. Then start networking locally and marketing yourself. It also helps to work in retail, that way you can find clients much easier.”

Step Five: Apply for an Internship

The article also explains that Internships can help new designers learn marketing, how fabrics look on real people, and network with possible future employers through entering amateur contests. Being an Intern is one of many ways you will have to pay your dues. Research the different companies before you apply. You can also search for open Internships on sites such as the Fashionista.com website has a list of Internship positions available.

Leah informs us about how she started out in her career as an Intern outside of the fashion industry. It is more about proving you’re passionate about learning and willing to start from the bottom as a right of passage. Leah says, “I had two non-fashion Internships. One was with the College Relations department of the community college I attended and the second Internship was for marketing with the management office at the mall in my hometown in Washington.”

Leah reveals what her day is like after she has paid her dues and now is a stylist. “A typical workday can vary, but it always includes developing content and posts for my soon to be launched business blog, working on administrative tasks for my business. For my client, 40muse.com, I research and write monthly fashion blog posts and design images using the online tool Polyvore.com. I also read about and research fashion trends and personal style blogs. Also, scanning social media for ideas and networking opportunities, reading and writing email, reading about the best business practices, and fashion styling books such as How To Have Style by Isaac Mizrahi.”

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