Intern Avenue provide you with an insight into a career in the fashion industry.
How to get an internship in the fashion industry?
What to expect from a fashion internship?
What qualifications and skills do you need?
Summer internships in fashion
Background to the UK fashion industry
What’s the best way to find a paid internship?
Fashion is one of the most innovative and fastest moving industries in the world, so if you want to break into it via a fashion internship when you finish studying, or perhaps on your summer holiday, read on for expert tips and advice.
The world of fashion encompasses a huge array of roles, from buying and merchandising, to retail and design. See below to see which area appeals to you – and your skills – most.
This is all about customer service; whether you want to work in a high-end designer store or you see yourself on the high street in an independent shop, retail means helping a customer find the right item, by listening to their wants, needs and price point. Day to day tasks include re-stocking shelves, taking in delivery, answering phone calls and keeping the shop floor clean and tidy.
This is the business side of fashion and is about selling the brand before its stock has even hit the shelves. Day to day you could be creating look books for each collection and working with the PR department, as well as maintaining contact databases and learning all the details about each and every garment or accessory.
This is where the magic happens! Design isn’t just about making pretty things; it’s about knowing how each fabric works and flows, and how to cut an accurate pattern. Day to day you might be scoping out new fabrics to use, and working out budgets or creating moodboards to predict future fashion trends.
Once a collection is ready, it’s about getting the products into the stores. Working in sales means forging relationships with the right department stores and online stores. On any given day you could be researching stores that suit your brand’s ethos and demographic, negotiating deals, taking orders and checking delivery dates and logistics.
You’ll need to have a very good grasp of maths to work in this area, as it’s all about buying the right amount of stock to ensure you please the customers, yet making sure that you don’t have tons left over come sale time! Day to day you’ll be checking stock levels and making sure that your supplier invoices are being passed for payment.
How a product is displayed can make all the difference as to whether it’s a hit or not, and this is where visual merchandising comes in. It’s about how those items are displayed to complement one another and show customers how they should and could be worn. You’ll be attending fashion shows regularly!
To get into buying you need to have some experience of working on the shop floor, and you need to be able to spot global trends and pin down the right designers to bring those trends to your demographic. Whether you work for a boutique or a well known high-street chain, your day-to-day routine will involve meetings at home and abroad with suppliers and attending trade shows months ahead of items landing on the shop floor. You’ll also need to have a good understanding of how to budget – as you can’t buy everything you see!
PR is about bringing the brand to the masses, whether that’s via a product mention in Vogue magazine or a PR event to welcome consumer newspapers and magazines to find out more about your brand. Day to day you can expect to be drafting press releases, working in blogger outreach to get your brand’s items seen on influential social media platforms, and maintaining relationships with major publications.
You will either need to be studying a fashion degree or specialising in fashion as part of another degree, such as design, art, fashion photography or business. Some roles such as buying or merchandising do not require a specific fashion qualification. As well as having the qualifications you will need to express a keen interest in fashion and past and current trends; the easiest way to show this is through your clothing. You don’t need to wear the exact brand that you’re working for but you should do your research and create your own version of the brand’s aesthetic.
The summer break is the perfect time to start a fashion internship if you are between your first and second year or between your second and third year. We offer 10-12 week paid internships, which means that you’ll not only be bringing in some cash, you’ll be making connections that could well turn into a job offer later.
The UK fashion industry is one of the most revered and respected across the globe, and the UK is home to many international fashion leaders, such as Vivienne Westwood and Paul Smith. As well as thousands of press, buyers and experts travelling to the UK for London Fashion Week twice a year, the fashion industry itself directly contributes £21 billion to the UK economy, and is estimated to support around 800,000 jobs.*
• Start showing your work now. Yes, you might be at University and sometimes your work might seem decidedly un-noteworthy, but believe us, it is, especially in such a visual industry. Start developing a portfolio of your work and set yourself up on Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr. This way prospective brands can see who and what your influences are, and if you’re a good fit for them. You could even start a blog to show off your fashion writing skills. Don’t forget to keep your CV regularly updated too!
• Set yourself up on LinkedIn; it’s a great way to share your latest work progress and you can start making connections with relevant fashion houses and brands across the globe.
• Sign up for Intern Avenue email alerts so you always know about the latest HR internships, graduate jobs and fashion careers.
Remember, an internship is basically an extended job interview, so be consistent in your work efforts and approach to each task you’re given.
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*Oxford Economics AW14