When I came to Los Angeles from a small Midwestern suburb last summer, I knew I’d need more than a GPS to navigate life in the real (fashion) world, which has gotten a bad rap (ahem, The Devil Wears Prada).
To make it in fashion, my affinity for designer labels was simply not enough. Hard work, humility, and an eagerness to learn the ins and outs are what would propel me forward.
Little did I know that my dream internship would evolve into a second year, and now—with two summers at Who What Wear under my belt—I have steered myself toward a future in fashion, acquiring just what it takes along the way.
Keep scrolling to see what I learned interning at WWW—and grab a few tips if you too are looking to make it in fashion.
Miranda Priestly may give industry leaders a ruthless reputation, but not everyone wants you to fail. While interning for Bobby Schuessler and Kat Collings, I learned that editors want to lead their interns toward success. Your willingness to put in the time and hone your creative passion won’t go unnoticed.
Whether you like it or not, you will be caught off-guard. When I first interviewed as an editorial intern at WWW, I was studying abroad in Europe, traveling in Amsterdam. I had few clothes with me (the consequence of strict airline bag restrictions), but fortunately, my laptop and a leather jacket were on hand. As a result, I learned that a little improvisation (i.e., carrying professional basics in my bag at all times) keeps you equipped on the go.
A crucial piece of advice I received is that it is important to be able to wear many hats. Being versatile in the workplace is vital. After interning in both the editorial and social departments, I gained experience in several divisions, something that I would urge other interns to do as well. And while the end goal may be solidifying your first byline, don’t expect to start at the top. As an intern, you’re not above any menial task.
Interning for a growing company results in a lot of responsibility; with that comes trial and error, but also room for growth. What will set you a part from other interns? The ability to problem-solve, think fast, and learn from your mistakes.
If there is one takeaway from interning, it is to treat your internship like a job. Plan to grab coffee or lunch with people in the company. This offers an opportunity to network and receive honest advice outside the workplace.
Being observant to what is occurring in the workspace is more valuable than asserting your voice. Take notes to avoid repeating questions. Diligence and an attention to detail will showcase a conscious effort on your part.
Appropriate clothing is key to working in any professional environment. Although I am interning for a fashion company, I air on the conservative side when dressing for work. Bottom line: As on trend as they may be, leave your sneakers at home.
Pretend your internship is like school. Just as you would study for a midterm, you should read up on fashion news, your company, supervisors, and colleagues. There is nothing more embarrassing than not being educated on your industry.
In your emails, notes, and voicemails, always maintain professionalism. Upon leaving an internship, be sure to thank your employers for offering their time as they made sacrifices in order to invest in your growth. A handwritten thank-you note will go a very long way.
Do you have any career tips? Let us know in the comments below. And if you’re on the hunt for a new addition to your work wardrobe, shop these beautiful bags.