Insider View: Landing a Fashion Internship

Photo Credit: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

And @LorraineELLE keeps on giving…. Almost as soon as I pushed out my last post “Insider View: Interviewing for a Job in Fashion” Lorraine (we are on a first name basis now since I love her blog…2012 goal is to now meet her in person) sent out another great guide on what she looks for in an intern. For many, this is the first step out of school to becoming the next great fashion genius and @CFDA award winner.  Here’s what she had to say:

What do I look for they asked? It struck me you may want to know, too. So listen up would-be editor-in-chiefs:

  • Have passion and enthusiasm. If you want to intern at ELLE, you need to love every aspect of fashion and be prepared to work hard. This means doing the not-so-good bits alongside the very exciting ones. An ELLE intern who works in our fashion department is likely to go on a cover shoot in LA, but she’s also going to spend a week in our fashion cupboard returning all the clothes called in for a shoot to press agencies and designers.
  • Keep your feet on the ground. This is not a fictional world like Ugly Betty or The Devil Wears Prada. This is a business like any other, we have hundreds of pages to fill each month, so we need people who will make that possible.
  • There is a time and a place to ask for an internship. Twitter, for example, is not the place to ask. Email a letter and explain why I would choose you over other candidates. Keep it short and to the point.
  • Be specific about what department you want to work in and what you’ll bring to the table. Simply saying: ‘I have a month to fill with work experience, can I come to you?’ does not impress an editor.
  • Don’t apply to intern at businesses that you don’t love dearly – you’ll get bored and not give the best impression of yourself.
  • Intern across a business you’re interested in. You never know, you may want to be a fashion assistant but, actually, excel in the magazine’s marketing department.
  • Be persistent and say yes to everything, go that one step further. You don’t have to be a big personality, but if you’re the intern that does the coffee run and comes up with a brilliant new system of storing things in the fashion cupboard you’ll be remembered.
  • Be polite. Always.
  • Be patient and think ahead. You won’t reach the top immediately, but you will get there quicker if you are a joy to work with and you react well to everything that is going on around you. Never be afraid of putting ideas forward in a measured and intelligent way.

I started as an intern on a local newspaper when it was my dream to be a journalist and eventually edit magazines. And I now employ a team of interns, all of whom have a valid voice in the creation of this magazine. I told the film crew today, much to their surprise, that I learn as much from those below me, interns especially, as I do from those more experienced above me. Every generation of young people brings a new outlook to a publication like ELLE and I welcome that.


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