The fashion industry may not be as successful as it is today without the aid of interns and I say this because of the various tasks that get done by us. Depending on what fashion house you’re interning for, your time as an intern could be good or bad. When one leaves an internship, they should feel more knowledgeable, grateful and well learnt.
That is exactly what DvF gave me.
Graduating this July, after studying Textile Design for three years at The University of Leeds, meant that I did not take the suggested ‘Year In Industry’ that is usually offered on most design courses. This year is offered to us, in order to help us get a foot in the proverbial fashion door. However, I decided to finish my degree completely and then get my foot in the door. A wrong move some might say, but till today I stand by my decision.
I was a wholesale intern at Diane Von Furstenberg from the 12th-18th of September 2014 and my duties from the 12th-14th were pretty straight forward. I was just one girl out of about 12 other girls (can’t quite remember numbers) who were lucky enough to be given this opportunity. For the first 3 days, we were steaming the DvF SS15 garments, reading line sheets and arranging them in the order in which they should be stocked. This was very time consuming, but as I mentioned earlier it was pretty straight forward. Before that I had never done line sheets or merchandised garments, so this was all part of the learning process.
We also did the not so fashionable things, such as rummaging through cancelled items, arranging the showroom in preparation for the buyers and clients and some minor heavy lifting. I got to see the back end of it all and really what goes on behind closed doors. We were split into half and the first half of the interns came in from 8am-1pm and the others would arrive from 1pm-6pm. I was always on the late shift and I did not mind at all, as I do enjoy a lie in. However, you pay the price of coming in to work later, as there is always a chance that you have to stay past 6pm. This only happened on 1 or 2 occasions.
Down To Business
We were all expected to wear black during market week as can be seen here, here and here. And as I arrived at 1pm on my first day, I was immediately dressing models, hanging back the SS15 collection on their hangers, placing them back in the line sheet order and general assistance.
As hectic as it was, it was just as exciting to be in the middle of it all!
Dressing Models: There were about 5 models in total and they were all very nice, warm and friendly. We had to get them in and out of clothes in good time, so that the clients don’t get impatient (as some did). When a model come back after showing the garment, I would usually get a handful of hangers given to me, with a short sentence that goes somewhat like this: ‘Nengi, this batch is for Benjamin, he wants to see it on the shorter girl right away!’ As I hear that, I have to leave whatever zip I was trying to fasten on one model, collect the batch of clothes and try my best to get it on the shorter girl right away.
Placement Of Garments: All DvF hangers had to have the logo facing in one direction, rubber grips had to be put on both ends of every single hanger, so that fabrics such as silks and chiffons, would not slide off. Trousers and jackets had their specific hangers and those also had to be utilised. Clothes all had to be fastened and wrapped up (I never knew how to tie a wrap dress before this. I was impressed to see that they all had little holes in which the rope feeds through).
General Assistance: This could include getting more hangers, giving your one off opinion on what you think of the collection, running to a haberdashery to find some missing buttons or getting a vegan plate for a client. What even is vegan food? :/
Coming To An End
On my last day at Diane Von Furstenberg, being on the afternoon shift, I had to stay a bit longer than I would usually have stayed, because we had to pack the collection of clothes and accessories back into huge duffel bags, so that they could be shipped over to Milan (in preparation for their market week & Milan fashion week). After all the packing and clearing up was done, we were given a form that stated what we would receive for being such diligent workers throughout the course of the week.
To my surprise, I saw that we would be getting a glowing reference whenever we ever needed one. We also get to pick 5 DvF garments from the website, (excluding accessories) which all have to be 400 euros or less, and if our first choice is not in stock, one of our other 4 choices will be chosen and posted to us. How incredible!! I was so unaware of this incentive, tha I was genuinely working for free! Diane Von Furstenberg is such a big name that I was seriously happy to intern for free!
All names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.