Life of a Fashion Intern

What’s the difference between a fashion intern and an electricity bill? The bill gets paid.

Recently the press have given the fashion industry a small beating, as the extent of the use of unpaid interns fully comes to light. Articulate broadsheet journalists paint a dystopian picture of overworked and penniless graduates, chained up in chic white studios steaming dresses for 18 hours a day, whilst our Céline-clad oppressors do nothing but take long lunches and contribute to social immobility. I would like to whole heartedly disagree, and say on behalf of fashion interns everywhere: this industry would crash without us.

Some have compared intern culture to how the Roman Empire was dependent on slaves, but I’d disagree on two counts. Firstly, gladiator sandals are so over, and secondly, we’re not going to be interns forever. Sure, right now I’m working my ass off for someone who isn’t paying me, but in ten (or hopefully five…) years I could be her boss. In an industry that never burns a bridge, the interns are usually treated with respect. My personal view is that as long as I’m dealt with nicely, with respect given to the fact that I am a human being with feelings, then I’m more than happy to perform relatively shitty tasks for no pay.

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I’ve interned quite a bit in my two and a half years in London, but so that I don’t land myself in the shit (both legally, and professionally) I can’t say where. Just think of it as me keeping the mystery alive. Right now, in the midst of London Fashion Week, I’ve been working the shows. If that sounds fun and glamorous, you are incredibly wrong. Whilst yes, for the first few times it’s fun, generally working a show is nothing like going to a show. The pressure is on, as from a PR perspective the fashion show is like the fit of your underwear: when it’s good, you shouldn’t notice it’s there, but when it’s bad it’s all you can think about. It can be tense, and being surrounded by models all day can draw out suicidal thoughts in even the most level headed. However, if you truly love fashion, none of that matters.

I don’t care that I’m not being paid. I don’t care that it’s a choice between buying food or shoes. I don’t care that it’s tiring and long and stressful, because fashion is the only thing I could ever imagine doing. For me, there’s nothing like the rush of seeing the first look hit the catwalk or the feeling of seeing your name on the credits of a photo shoot in a magazine. Whilst it would be lovely to be paid one day, right now I’m just in it for the thrills.

Oh, and David Gandy once walked past me twice in one day, which definitely helped. Now, here’s a compilation of models falling over:

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About Elliot Rose

You can find me wandering the streets of East London, judging the outfits of strangers. Studying fashion, interning in PR. Likes: Marc Jacobs, bank holiday weekends, pictures of Kim Kardashian crying. Dislikes: Gok Wan, carbs. @elliot_rose