Last summer, as I was rapidly approaching my senior year at Binghamton University, I decided I needed to secure an internship to gain more experience in marketing before graduating. I reached out to my former internship supervisor from a local internship through the Career Development Center, and he just so happened to have a contact for me in New York City in the fashion industry. For the past two months, I have been a marketing intern for Stone & Strand, the “world’s leading online fine jewelry destination,” and I have gathered quite a bit of insight into the art of interning within the fashion industry. I have compiled a list of 15 things that I feel are essential to know prior to starting a fashion internship in NYC.
1. “Grande, iced, sugar-free vanilla latte with soy milk”
The fashion industry is a fast-paced world; sometimes a cup of coffee is needed. Or two. Or three.
2. Flats vs. Stilettos
Avoid wearing heels for your commute; unless you’re Beyoncé or Carrie Bradshaw, just don’t do it.
3. Manhattan, Cosmo or Appletini?
Be sure to reward yourself for working long hours. There are happy hours all over NYC; plus, they’ll probably be the only drinks you’ll be able to afford.
4. Know how to pronounce high-fashion designers’ names
Hermès is not pronounced “Hermies.”
5. Channel your inner Mary Poppins
Be sure to have a large tote bag handy! You will find yourself using it to hold everything from your extra shoes and your lunch, to important products or documents for your internship.
6. A smile is worth a thousand words
Stay positive and greet every task with a smile. Busy work is part of an internship; not every task is glamorous.
7. Cirque du Soleil: Walking the tight rope
You must not be afraid to take initiative and find your voice within the company; the key is to find the balance between confidence and overstepping your boundaries.
8. Self-promotion is not narcissism
Be ready to self-promote and network at any moment: A lasting impression may mean a future lead for a job. You get extra points if you have business cards.
9. “I don’t do fashion. I am fashion.” — Coco Chanel
Your office may not dress for the runway every day; make sure your style is in conjunction with the office dress code.
10. Pinterest isn’t just a hobby anymore
As one of the leading platforms for fashion social media, Pinterest will quickly become a business task instead of a personal pastime.
11. Ready, set, write
Just because you’re not in class doesn’t mean the note-taking should stop. Take as many notes as possible and make lists — organization is key.
12. Don’t choke on your words
Meeting well-known designers or celebrities and attending fashion shows or exclusive events may be part of the job. Stay poised and avoid being starstruck at all costs.
13. Take advantage of every opportunity
Don’t be shy when it comes to accepting complimentary goods, services or meals. After all, we’re interns — at what other time will free manicures or lunches in NYC present themselves?
14. “So, do I have the job?”
Just because you have secured the internship doesn’t mean you will automatically receive a job offer. Bring 100 percent to the table, or desk, every day.
15. Every day is not like “The Devil Wears Prada”
You will neither get an amazing makeover from a sympathizing co-worker nor take trips to Paris Fashion Week. Sorry.
Julia Lucia is a senior majoring in Italian