Welcome back to the blog peeps! I’m excited to introduce what I hope to be a whole new section to my blog focusing on a career in fashion magazines.
I’ve now been working in the industry for around seven years across a number of departments in both London and Dubai, and would love to share some of my experience! Today, I want to focus on interning and what you can and shouldn’t do to secure a more permeant position. It’s not easy, but with time, experience and resilience it’s more than possible.
During and after university I interned, worked in TV to fund my interning, which went on for about 4 years. The six-month internship at ELLE UK was the turning point. I am so grateful for the people I met and what I’ve learnt by purely observing and making myself as valuable as possible.
Unfortunately a permanent job didn’t surface so I went freelance and did fashion assisting or picture researching at Marie Claire, Glamour, Stylist and Matchesfashion.com, before finally getting a picture assistant job at Harpers Bazaar and Town & Country.
At times it felt like a never ending revolving door of fashion cupboards and a constant need to impress editors and stylists in just a month. I was nervous most of the time (I actually had to step out of the office to make phone calls for samples in fear of people hearing my phone voice!)
Despite some rudeness, borderline ridiculous tasks, I never showed any annoyance or frustration. Quick story, my fellow intern was so fed up after one task that she tweeted about how much she hated everything and of course the staff saw and told her it was unprofessional. Don’t do that. The fashion industry is small so whatever happens, the word will spread so show up with a smile.
I was always one of the first to volunteer for something, came into the office as early as possible and left when they realized the time and told me that I legally had to go home. I asked questions, dressed well and always offered help – even if the features editor had to tell me to leave her ‘the fuck’ alone.
I made friends, stayed in touch, politely reminded them that I’m still available and in the end was recommended from team to team until Harpers took me on. So here is what I can share with you to get that first job in fashion:
Every connection you make can be valuable, so always have your game face on.
You are probably coming into this industry knowing everything Instagram, graphic design and video. Showcase those skills because the more you can offer, the better.
Saying that, save your phone scrolling to lunchtimes – even when there’s literally nothing to do.
Work hard, admit mistakes and then do everything you can to fix them. Retreating is worst.
Be the first to say yes to any task, even if it means organising a box of hangers.
Go niche. Work with a stylist, pick a smaller publication or maybe something slightly off your interest zone. You’d be amazed at how much you can learn.
Take notes and keep asking questions, no matter how silly they seem.
Get to know the junior members of the fashion team, editors and directors rarely have the time.
If you’ve been given a page to work on, consider of the reader and what you think your editor would actually wear. Understanding your audience and knowing the purpose of every product you include is a good way of showing that you get the publication.
People in fashion are really not as ‘Devil Wears Prada’ as people imagine, but the expectations are high.