4 Really Important Tips for Landing Your First Fashion Internship

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Fashion Intern Barbie

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I'm not the type to use text-speak or all caps or multiple exclamation marks but ... OMFG! THIS PAST SATURDAY I LANDED MY FIRST FASHION INTERNSHIP!!! I AM THE NEW PR/OPERATIONS INTERN FOR THE INCREDIBLE PRABAL GURUNG!!! The process of applying and interviewing for the elusive first fashion internship was daunting to say the least. Exciting but daunting. The following is a list of tips to help you land your first fashion internship. If Barbie can do it, then so can you.

1. The hardest thing about applying for your first fashion internship is the amount of time you're going to spend waiting, waiting, and waiting for a call back. Of course, there are some exceptions (especially if you have connections). All of the internships I applied for had an immediate start date, but I quickly learned that the fashion industry hasn't fully grasped the concept of time. Basically, "immediate" could mean the next day or the next week or in the next two weeks. So don't be discouraged if you don't hear back right away!

2. Just because you didn't get the internship doesn't mean you didn't get the internship. Sometimes Human Resources will keep your resume on file and will call you if you qualify for another internship or volunteer opportunity. Also, some interns quit, are fired, or drop off the face of the earth. If this happens, you may be the next in line.

3. Use your first fashion internship to give you some direction and allow you to experience the many sides of the fashion industry. Your first internship does not have to be THE PERFECT INTERNSHIP, or even in the exact area you want to work in - it's all about gaining experience and getting a foot in the door. So apply for an internship at a small publication, PR firm, or fashion house, and don't be afraid to apply for a position that isn't in your ideal department. That's what I did and although I am a PR/Operations Intern, I get to see the design team (and Prabal himself) in action.

4. Unpaid internships are going to cost you money, not make you money. So factor in the costs of transportation (i.e. subway cards, taxi fare) as well as meals before you go for that unpaid gig. Is it going to be worth it in the long run? Would you pay for this experience? If so, go for it (if your budget permits). Yes, the unpaid internship system is unfair, but you probably have to make some sacrifices now in order to succeed in the long term.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

Do you agree with my tips? What tips would you suggest? What was/is it like to apply and interview for your first fashion internship? Do you like Barbie (haha)? I will gladly answer each and every question that anyone posts in the comments section!