Fashion Internship Guide: Getting the Experience

The fashion industry is no exception to the infamous paradox of needing experience to get a job and needing a job to get experience, but there are ways to fake it until you make it and today I'm going to share those tips with you...

Welcome to the first post in a series I'm going to be doing about how to get a fashion internship. When I first started looking into how to get internships in fashion I struggled to find many articles with actual practical advice that wasn't just the same five obvious, inconsequential bullet points repeated. So I thought I'd take it upon myself to write one!

This week's is going to be about how to build up experience or tailor the experience you already have for the fashion industry. The fashion industry is no exception to the infamous paradox of needing experience to get a job and needing a job to get experience, but there are ways to fake it until you make it and today I'm going to share those tips with you. Next week I'll be talking about how to find internships and apply for them, after that I'll be talking about the interview, and the final post will be on what to expect and what to do once you've gotten the internship. So stay tuned for what will hopefully be some useful advice.

Start a blog

One of the easiest ways to get yourself some experience in the fashion industry is to start blogging. Sign up for Blogger (for the easiest and cheapest option anyway), take a few outfit snaps or ask your friends to (phone quality will do if you don't have a camera), or even create styling or wishlist posts from images online. Worst case scenario - your blog is rubbish and no one reads it, but it still shows you have a natural interest and use your time productively. Best case - you gain experience with photography, working with PR reps, get free stuff and could even turn it into an income in the future. There are no downsides to blogging.

Intern at London Fashion Week

One of the easiest ways to gain valuable experience is to intern at Fashion Week. It's still competitive but less so than most internships, and experience isn't vital, can be done at 16+, and also takes up less time with internships being as short as a day and as long as a couple of weeks. In my next post I'll be going into detail about how to find a Fashion Week internship.

It's also worth seeing if your town has any local fashion weeks or events that you could help out with! Might not be as luxurious as the real thing, but everyone has to start somewhere.

School can be fashionable

Your A Levels may seem lightyears away from the seemingly glamorous fashion industry, but you'd be surprised how much you can make them relevant. If you're picking your A Levels/GCSEs then go for at least one creative one and one business related one as these will give you the best chance of getting on to a fashion-related degree course. No matter what you've taken though it can relate to fashion, trust me. Like maths? You'll make a good buyer or merchandiser. Like media? Something like social media or advertising might be great for you. Like science? Urm...okay, maybe not science.

There are also loads of extra things you can do whilst in school to bulk up your CV. Programs like the Young Enterprise or doing a Baccalaureate are great ways to gain experience and qualifications and can be tailored around the fashion industry. Get creative, if some fund raising needs to be done, offer to put together a charity catwalk or something along those lines!

Part time jobs can be about more than just the money

Your part time job can also be a great way to build experience. Most employers in the fashion industry look for people with retail experience when hiring interns, obviously working in a clothes shop is ideal, but any kind of retail provides you with great transferable skills. The same can be said for any job. Waitressing? Great, you have customer service experience! Hospitality? You're used to hard work!

Get a hobby

Hobbies are great because not only do they help you develop skills but they show you have a genuine interest in things. For fashion, basically any creative hobby is great (photography, sewing, illustration, even something like web design!) but don't forget to mention if you have any unusual hobbies as well as these can make you seem interesting and grab employers' attention.

Learn a language

Fashion is such a global industry that having even a basic grasp of any language can be a massive leg up. It's well worth enduring GCSE or A Level language subjects if you can get a passing grade, and continuing these in your spare time afterwards is also great. Even if you're not of school age, or don't want to take a language officially, learning a language outside of school will look so impressive. Don't limit yourself to picking the obvious French or Italian either, as lots of people speak those in fashion. Learning slightly more obscure/harder languages can give you a unique selling point. My recommendations would be Mandarin (Chinese suppliers), Turkish (a lot of suppliers are based in Turkey) or Swedish (H&M, world famous design, knitwear industry).

So those are my tips on how to get experience in the fashion industry and make yourself way more employable from the get go. If you're looking to study a fashion degree in the future then it's a great idea to implement as many of these tips into your life as soon as possible, and if you're studying a non-fashion related degree but want to enter the fashion industry it's vital you get as much experience and relevant skills as possible to make the transition as painless as possible. I hope this post has been helpful, and don't forget to check back next week for my advice on finding and applying for internships!

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