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Should fashion internships be paid?

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Rails and rails of designer clothes, a fashion cupboard where you can 'borrow' anything... a large window-front that offers a soaring view of the city. This is where a lot of us fashion writers or designers imagine working - BUT, in fashion, this isn't always the case straight away. This is where internships come in, helping us venture out to the big (and scary) world of the fashion industry.

Internships can be great, however, large publications have been repeatedly criticised for not paying interns who are essentially doing the same job as their paid staff. so, if internships are how we get a foot in the door and give us an insight into the wide world of fashion... should we be getting paid?

Image Credit: Duncan Chen on Flickr

The fashion industry is all about “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” So, a good internship can give you incredible networking opportunities and fantastic references to move you forward. However, the fact that most internships within fashion are completely unpaid leaves all of us at a disadvantage. Unless, you have the money to be able to afford to work five days a week, for a few months without a payment, it’s a sacrifice you quite simply cannot afford to make. 

In most industries, it's accepted that at the start of your career, you'll presumably have to do some unpaid work and most likely swallow your pride doing the bits no one else wants to do to help us develop your skills to, eventually, find paid work. However, some internships allow unpaid work to go on far too long, and this is the issue. 

On the other hand, internships are essential in the creative industries and looking for fashion internships just got a little bit easier with the arrival of the Find Your Intern, website which sparked an interesting debate on Instagram last week. FYI is a platform that advertises PAID internships as well as other services. The site provides an easy application process with exclusive and exciting new internships, making it easier to improve yourself professionally. The website also provides a shop where you can purchase guides and templates for the perfect CVs and portfolios. In addition to this, it also includes a CV clinic to help students and interns make their CVs and cover letters look their best. 

Internships provide experience, and that is not in doubt. If you can afford it, it’s flexible and lets you study or do other work; then it might be a good idea. However, the issue is that asking people to work for free is exploitive, and if people continue to do unpaid internships, they will continue to be normalised

People seem to forget that interns are people, and in today's world, people work for money to obtain food and shelter. A lot of us aren't lucky enough to be born into the luxury to be able to afford to spend outstanding amounts of money getting these internships. It is absolutely heartbreaking to watch some incredible young talents missing out on opportunities due to class and financial background. Everyone should be paid and respected for the work they do. 

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A post shared by Find Your Intern (@findyourintern) on

 

If you’re interested in finding fashion internships and placements, make sure you…

  1. Watch out for opportunities shared by your university or even your favourite fashion brand on Instagram and other social media

  2. Find placements that build on different skills to make yourself a well-rounded intern 

  3. Be prepared to work hard and challenge yourself 

  4. Be sure to tailor your cover and CV to exactly meet the requirements for the internship you’re applying for
     
  5. Explore some creative placements sites like…

    FASHION MONITOR - Fashion Monitor is a great platform to help you find your next perfect career move. You can easily filter jobs by role and location to make your searches easier. 

    FASHION WORKIE  - Fashion Workie is also a great platform for internships, placements and freelance jobs as it’s always jam-packed with amazing placements in everything from fashion design and PR to graphic design and illustration. Plus, they upload paid opportunities as well as internships. 

    INTERN WARDROBE - Intern Wardrobe is another excellent place for young creatives. As well as internships, this site offers great tips and experiences when it comes to interning and improving CVs. 

The fashion world can be a scary place, but it's also very exciting and rewarding... so don't give up! 

Lead Image -  Duncan Chen on Flickr




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