Saturday, October 22, 2011

Diary of a fashion intern - Part 3 "Guess who's going to Paris"

Sorry about the delay! Here is Part 3 of my interning diary. The Russian version is running on Look At Me (and I must say I find it so flattering that someone finds this blabbering interesting enough to publish :))

You can also read Part 1 and Part 2.

...By my third day at the showroom I'm starting to feel somewhat comfortable with what I am meant to be doing during my time here. We are constantly being reminded that we are the face of the brand and to look and present ourselves well. Today I'm blending in well - wearing all black (do you know how hard it is to find a good matching black outfit?! you know how they say there are 30-something shades of black? well it's true!).

Today it feels like finally all the interns are getting comfortable with the process and everything is starting to fall into place. The showroom is running smoothly and I'm trying to concentrate on getting all my tasks done perfectly.

Having said that, there are certain tasks that I am desperately trying to avoid… For example, every morning we get a new set of "line sheets" from our head office in New York. Line sheets are essentially catalogues of the current collection and get updated every day depending on the brand's decision to cancel or modify the production of certain items.  Anyway, so every morning we need to make multiple photocopies of these fresh line sheets and I am literally avoiding eye contact with anyone who is remotely involved in the process. If you are pulled into this task, you will essentially be stuck in the back of the office, by yourself, next to a hot photocopier.. for hours…Not ideal! The trick is, like I said before, not to make eye contact.. the reason being is that the more senior members of the team might still not know your name and hence will think twice before calling out. On the other hand, once you have made eye contact, they start with a polite "excuse me…could I ask you to".

At the end of the day, every intern wants to be on the floor, meeting buyers and learning from the sales team.. not photocopying or dressing the models in the back room.

Oh and about the back room - the back room is essentially a space that is separated from the rest of the room by a screen and that's where the models are 'based' all day as well as the interns who are responsible for dressing the models. Occasionally, the action in the showroom dies down and we all get a break, during which you essentially just plant yourself on the floor (wherever there is space) and pray that you have enough time for a proper 'long' cup of coffee. Some of the models curl up on the floor and fall asleep, others are typing furiously on their phones.. Sometimes I wonder - is it even possible to spend that much time on the phone or do they just not want to socialise??

The interns generally spend their breaks chatting to each other about themselves and all things fashion. One of the most popular topics is 'what do I want to do when I grow up'. Everyone is sharing their experiences in the fashion world and trying to figure out what they need to do to get a grown-up (i.e. paying) job. 

I was actually surprised how varied the internship group is. The ages of the interns are between 19 and 32, one of the girls has a toddler at home which makes long hours difficult, the other one is currently studying a masters degree in fashion management, whilst the youngest is doing this as part of her european baccalaureate program where you have to do an internship somewhere/anywhere before you can graduate - she is the only one of her friends who chose to do an internship in fashion. This is her first job and she tells me in secret that for the first couple of weeks she often felt like crying because she didn't understand what she was required to do.  One thing that we all have in common is that none of us are Londoners or even from the UK, I find that fascinating!

In the afternoon the pace picks up a bit. A team of three buyers from a kind-of-a-big-deal online shop come in to look at the shoes and accessories. I decide not to tell them that I am currently a recovering shopaholic and used to spend a considerable amount of time and money on their website. I cant help but stare - I love their webshop so much and hence I instantly love them too because these are the people who used to (back when I had a paying job) make me so-so happy : ) All three are perfectly tall, thin and immaculately groomed. Wearing only the latest trends and super-duper high Louboutins. They are what people think all buyers look like.

As I am shamelessly checking them out whilst they are checking out the collection, one of them says that she would really love to see what the shoes look like on and looks directly at me. For the next hour I find myself in intern heaven - trying on every  shoe in the collection and having a photo of my foot (in the shoe) taken. That's right ladies and gentleman, I am now officially a shoe-model!! 

Tomorrow is the last day of London Fashion Week and the most important question of the day is 'who is going to Milan and who is going to Paris???' The newer interns who have not yet done a season are buzzing with excitement, the old dogs are rolling their eyes and trying not to ruin the mood - they know that above all Milan and Paris are both HARD work and if you thought London was intense… well.. lets just say London was a warm-up. The trips to Milan and Paris are fully covered by the company but then again I cant imagine us having much spare time to do any sightseeing. 

I am yet to find out if I am going to either as I was the last intern to join the team. Although it is hard work I would hate to be left out as the whole sales team would be away and I'm pretty sure I would feel like I'm missing out on an awesome party and yes I do realise it's not going to be a party at all but I guess I just hate missing out!!!

By the end of the day my boss puts me out of my misery and tells me that I will be joining them in Paris. Not sure why but I feel a sense of relief..  

To be continued...xx