So you want to be a fashion intern?

Getting your foot in the door, at least in the fashion industry, can be a difficult task — even when you’re putting your best heel forward. Interning has become a necessary evil, but evil they are not: they provide both on-the-job experience and a great network of contacts. We caught up with two Ryerson students with awesome fashion internships under their belt to ask what the experience was like and if it was worth it.

Olivia Ruebens, second-year fashion design student.
Internship: Lucian Matis, designer.

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Olivia Ruebens, second-year fashion design student.

How was your experience with this internship?
My experience was fantastic. Lucian [Matis] is such a talented designer, constantly on the move, and it’s nice to be put into an environment where I can see myself in the future. He is super nice and very helpful, but the time that I’ve been there was a rushed period before fashion week, so I more-so got to practice things I know rather than learn a lot, like hand sewing and cutting fabric.

What did you do during this internship?
Because I’m still interning and it’s after fashion week, I’m counting on being able to learn to do pattern drafting for more complex garments than I’m used to, because he knows I’m keen on learning that as well.

Do you believe internships are worth doing?
I think internships are worth doing because you get way more practice than you do at school, though we do have to sew a ton. You have to put 10,000 hours into one thing in order to be a professional, so I think it’s really valuable. You also learn a ton you don’t learn at school that can help you do better and allow yourself to be more creative.

What advice would give to students who are planning to start an internship?
I would tell students that are planning on doing an internship not to shy away from asking to intern with someone. Contact anyone. It doesn’t have to be through Ryerson. Generally people are in need of help and are enthusiastic to teach students. After the first email or phone call, it doesn’t seem so bad anymore, even if you get rejected the first time.

 

Alora Arnold, third-year fashion design student.
Internship: Jenny Bird, jewellery designer.

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Alora Arnold, third-year fashion design student.

How was your experience with this internship?
It was better than I could have even imagined. It was a smaller operation, so I spent a lot of one-on-one time with Jenny [Bird], and was able to be involved in every aspect of the business. I learned so much and Jenny continues to be a great contact and resource.

What did you do during this internship?
Most of my time was spent making jewelry, and was given free rein with the development of some design prototypes. I was also involved in photo shoots, look-book layouts, and pricing and shipping.

Would do this internship again?
In a heartbeat, it was such a great experience. I am actually doing contract work for them right now, so I’m getting paid and working on my own schedule.

Do you believe internships are worth doing?
Internships are invaluable for students. They give you insight into how businesses operate in the industry, and the contacts you make can prove to be extremely valuable in the future.

What advice would give to students who are planning to start an internship?
Don’t favour large companies over small ones. Small operations often have more time for you, and you can potentially be involved in more aspects of their business. Don’t over think it: jump into it and take advantage of all the opportunities that you can. You never know what you might enjoy, and these experiences may lead you to an unexpected but immensely rewarding career.