A Week in the Life of a Design Intern

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Ever dreamed of designing clothes for your favourite labels? Here Label Style brings you another ‘Day in the Life of’, as sub editor Anna Birtwistle tells you about her weeklong internship, and tips on gaining experience in the fashion industry.

Recently I spent a week interning for local fashion company Annie Greenabelle. It was a great opportunity where I learnt so much. The company is a small but successful company based fifteen minutes outside Loughborough. They sell gorgeous women’s wear, such as day dresses, evening wear and casual outfits, which are all made ethically from organic certified cotton in the UK.

I got an interview after emailing the team via an email address found on the website. I took a portfolio full of my drawings and textile work that showed my enthusiasm for fashion and design. I also took past copies of Label to show I can help out with photo-shoots and clothes sourcing if needed. The team were friendly and welcoming when I arrived at the small office in Sileby.

After a chat about the company and role, Jane (‘the boss’) discussed when I could come in, and I started the first week of the Easter holidays. 

During my time there, I scoured trend blogs such as WGSN, and fashion sites such as Vogue, Style.com and Elle to see what colours, patterns and trends people will be buying this coming summer and autumn. From there, Rachel (another intern) and I created mood boards and colour references to present to the designers and Jane. We were given a brief to look for prints for high summer dresses and then more autumnal prints to be introduced later in the year.

On the second day, we drove to the fabric-printing factory to choose samples to manipulate and were given a guided tour of the factory. The scale of printing there amazed me. I am used to small hand printing screens in a small room producing squares of fabric at a time, this was printing thousand of rolls of fabric at a time.

During the week we tweaked, designed and redesigned around four prints with many outcomes, which we presented to the designers and Jane regularly throughout the day until we were all really happy with them! It is difficult to know if the client will like your designs, but I learnt to trust my instinct on what looks good and just kept asking myself whether I would wear it personally, this way I knew I was doing the job to the best of my ability.

If you are thinking about a job in design, doing a short term placement like this can really help you decide what path to choose in the long term. Whether it cements your choice, or makes you realise that area isn’t for you, getting a wider knowledge of the industry is always beneficial.

I realised working for a small company would really suit me as I enjoyed seeing all the processes, being very hands on in the designing and being able to see the end result on the Topshop website. I enjoy variety and there was always something to do there, and it wasn’t just making tea all day, which I feel I may not have been the case working for a larger high street company.

It is definitely worth looking into internships even if they are unpaid, as experience is not only valuable to your future employer but yourself as well. You can shop Annie Greenabelle at http://www.anniegreenabelle.com/ or find them on the Topshop website.

Tips for Finding Internships

Follow or like your favourite companies on Facebook or twitter to keep up-to-date with vacancies. Style volunteer Jess found her internship at Henry Holland through Facebook, and you can read her story here!

Find email addresses on websites and email asking for vacancies, but don’t forget to research the person before emailing. It’s much more personable to contact the person you’re emailing by name, rather than Sir/Madam. 

Keep your CV up-to-date as you gain more and more experience, this will save you spending loads of time later on. Don’t forget to follow up your enquiries with a phone call; it will help you to remain fresh in the company’s mind, and shows willingness and determination. 

Good Luck!

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