Fashion

My fashion magazine experience: has interning gone démodé?

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If you’re looking to pursue a career in journalism one of the main things employers, unsurprisingly, look for is experience.

People say that “any kind of work experience is good experience” but don’t be a fool. Work placements are usually unpaid and sometimes you have to spend money to be able to do them. So, I’d say that anything over two weeks that’s not paid has to be worth your while.

I, for example, applied for work experience with Closer Magazine through Go Think Big. Mind you, as an international student, I had never heard of the Bauer publication but I was determined to make this summer a productive one and was able to secure a two-week slot with them. I was over the moon, I had a work experience with a big magazine in London. Albeit a tabloid one, it was still exciting! So, I booked myself the cheapest hostel I could find in Camden, coach tickets, said goodbye to £2.50 pints and headed down south.

The first day was hectic. Closer had recently moved to a new building and the reception was crowded with contractors and more girls who were also there for work experience.

When the style intern and my supervisor came to get me I immediately noticed that I should’ve been better dressed. They said there was no dress code but I instantly regretted not having upped my fashion game. The section I was working for, Lifestyle, lived and breathed fast fashion while I had only brought a single pair of trousers to wear for the two weeks.

Tip #1: In a fashion magazine, dress nicely. I’m not talking formal, what I mean is if you have an interest in fashion make sure people know you do just by them looking at you.

After she gave me an extremely quick tour of the office and explained a few things, we jumped straight in. I was a bit overwhelmed and had absolutely no training but Closer is a weekly magazine and the clock is always ticking.

Tip #2: Things in a fashion magazine are usually going to be fast-paced. There are deadlines for call-ins, photoshoots, interviews… Everything! You need to be on top of your game.

That Monday was spent very much outside of my comfort zone. Mostly everyone in the office was British, wearing trendy clothes and talking about Love Island. I felt very out of place and had to google ‘blazin’ squad’ at the end of the day.

The second day was a bit better because I knew what to expect but I didn’t get to do much writing stuff. My tasks ranged from organising the fashion/beauty cupboard to doing some clothing/trends research and getting images from online shops. My main duty was to go to the courier room every morning and afternoon and bring all the packages to the office and log them in.

The grunt/admin work was done by me, the lowest in the employee ranking, but I wasn’t complaining. I knew what work experience entailed and at least I didn’t have to make anyone tea (although I did offer). My goal was to be the most helpful person in the office. I was always offering to do stuff and see if I could help out with anything in hopes that they would let me write something.

The first week was cut short due to a dental emergency I had but I was able to come back for the second week and learn one thing about the fashion industry.

It was not the industry I wanted to be in.

If you are interested in fashion journalism then go for it, it’s a good way to feel the area’s vibe, meet people and a nice climbing step on a very tough ladder. But if you are like me that applied just because I wanted the experience (I didn’t necessarily care where, as long as it had to do with media) don’t go into it.

Tip #3: Don’t go into it unless you’re truly passionate about it.

I came out of this placement with the realisation that going into fashion journalism requires a deep passion for it and a willingness to put in a lot of hard work to truly succeed/enjoy the placement. Although I was always willing to give my best, I spent most of my time carrying/logging/emailing and not actually writing (the one thing I’m truly passionate about).

I’m not saying it was awful. My bosses were very nice and I got an amazing goodie bag filled with cosmetics but I didn’t get to do the journalism stuff that I love and ended up spending a considerable amount of money in accommodation.

Goodie bag from Closer.

However, I did learn some valuable lessons, met nice people and feel like I now have a good insight of a weekly fashion magazine and its fast pace.

So with this, I leave you with the last tip:

#4: Research your role, just don’t apply to everything you see. Also, weight in costs and rewards and see what fits you best. And if you do end up going, always give 110%.

Words by Laura Yoshimoto Turpin

Sarah is your lifestyle editor.

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