THE BLOG

In Defense of Unpaid Internships

16/04/2014 13:52 BST | Updated 19/05/2015 11:59 BST

We hear the stories of many fellow comrades who have fallen foul to that 'vampiric' institution of unpaid internships which appears to sap the elixir of life from aspirational go-getters. These people have watched The Devil Wears Prada one time too many. There's a whole corner of the internet dedicated to sharing these exaggerated cosmopolitan horror stories.

Obviously, there are cases of internships which have gone tragically wrong, however fashion internships are one of the more light hearted affairs. I believe that unpaid internships are a tool to develop one's sense of self; to find out what you do and don't like... and to get some anecdotes that prove to be worth their weight in gold.

When I was sitting on my sofa at the tender age of 13, I watched myself swank around the Premier Model Management offices on Channel 4's The Model Agency, as if I were an integral cog in the London fashion scene, when actually my main responsibility was making the tea. Oh, and once I walked the dog of a judge on Britain's Next Top Model. Her name was Buffy (dog not celebrity).

There was no danger of me 'only being in it for the money' because there was none! I was there because I adore it. However, if I hadn't had the opportunity to work at TANK, Vice and Dazed & Confused I may never have discovered a career path that, I can confidently say, will keep me entertained for the rest of my life.

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Yes, it is tiring. But so is anything worth doing! I have a nagging feeling that this generation is too adept to receiving everything on a silver-plated smart phone; the long-standing institution of nepotism is not allowing young up-and-comers to separate themselves from the herd of lazy 'legacy children'.

My most potent memory of interning to date is one afternoon in August, 2012. I was a styling assistant under Isabelle Sayer at a shoot for a main fashion story for TANK's September issue. Coincidentally, Isabelle Sayer is the most determined, passionate and committed stylist I have had the pleasure to meet. I would follow her anywhere, which is probably why I acted like such a div in this case.

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Model: Hannah S @ Viva

Photography: Andrew Vowles

Styling: Isabelle Sayer

Though there are moments which make fashion interning intensely daunting and sometimes forget why you bother, like the time I got lost in Brixton while holding a Aisling Farrell couture dress and consequently scaring Proudlock from Made in Chelsea out of his unseasonably tanned skin. But that's a story for another day, pals.

There are also moments that make one remember what ace fun fashion can be that confirmed my Mum's worst nightmare: I will work in fashion forever and a day.

But you know what, Mum?

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My heart is set aflutter with the fact that I may enter into a career which could lead me to sitting in a warehouse that has been transformed into a Chanel supermarket.

You can't make this stuff up, it's fashion dah-ling.