From Halston, To Hell and Back: Diaries of A Retired Cool Fashion Intern (Part 1)
March 29, 2011 § Leave a comment
Warning: A total LiveJournalish entry ensues:
I’m finally in a place where I can truly say that I love my job…that’s right, JOB! I’m doing alright for myself in the world of Fashion PR, so it’s amazing to me that I went to school to become a buyer, and even more amazing how I got to where I am over the course of the past year. Throughout college, I was molded into an Executive wannabe with a degree combining business law, marketing, retail management, planning/merchandising, and all things fabulous. Countless all-nighters (Adderall and caffeine binges during exams would have me at the library for 4-5 days straight, only taking breaks to go home and shower…but I still had an amazing GPA, and a 29″ waist). It was intense, but nothing could compare to what I was about to endure.
I moved to New York immediately after graduation with barely $1,000 in my bank account, a life-long dream to live in the city, and a full-time, unpaid internship (read: abused) in the Sales Department at an iconic fashion house.
There was so much chaos going on, and everyone (except for my fellow interns and two sympathetic employees) was rude as can be. It was required that I take my own laptop to work, otherwise nothing would get done, and often I would have to stay until midnight or later because my boss couldn’t get her shit together. I got it…I was an intern there to be shit on and grab coffee, but still hoped to learn something in the process. Being asked to come into the office at 5AM when I had left only 4 hours earlier (giving me approximately 30 minutes of sleep due to the commute to/from the city) was the kicker. I quit after a month of working as hard as I humanly could for 14-20 hour days that would inevitably end up in tears, multiple phone calls home, and intense exhaustion.
Then the Director of Marketing & Public Relations asked me to come back and be her intern because she saw how cool I was (still am). I was still running errands, but I also got to exercise my creative bones while choosing fantastic gowns for celebs to wear to red carpet events, and eventually would see my picks elegantly draped across said A-listers’ shoulders weeks later in the press as a reward. My lovely new boss would say the words “good job” willingly…and occasionally over-praise me even when I did something terribly wrong, because she understood that I was learning everything that the corporate environment entailed…from office etiquette, to the workings of a multi-million dollar business, to overnighting samples to Milan, to how intense the backlash would be if I didn’t get the CEO’s Starbucks order of a Tall Skim Chai Latte with NO MORE THAN 1/2 Pump of Chai correct (never make that mistake twice)! I ended up loving the rest of my term at La Casa de Heritage; I made priceless personal and business contacts, saw my first shows at New York Fashion Week, and even got to meet SJP a couple of times.
Whatever, internships are an incredibly valuable learning experience, no matter what type of mundane activities, tasks, or errands are put in front of you. It’s all about meeting the challenge head-on, even if it is degrading. You’ll eventually move on to a place where you are appreciated and can add true value to the team. Just don’t forget that when you’re working for somebody else, you’re providing both a service and a product. Produce tangible results (product), and do so with a fucking smile on your face that will make your boss happy (service).
Sorry to disappoint my internship-bound readers, but that’s the best piece of “wisdom” I can impart upon you this evening…Stay tuned for part two, when I talk about the contrast between heavenly bosses and then TRUE Hell! Seriously…Miranda Priestley has NOTHING on the icy bitch I’m about to discuss!