Label Style bring you a quick diary from Loughborough student Jessica McCarthy who is currently on placement working for London-based fashion designer Henry Holand, founder of House of Holland.

Being an intern at House of Holland meant two things: I got to venture out of the ‘Loughborough Uni’ life and into the real world; and I get some much sought after work experience. Now don’t get me wrong, I have worked before, in fact I was quite a keen seasonal worker in bars and restaurants, shops and venues so I thought I knew what the ‘adult working life’ was all about.

But I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s not until you’re stuck on the delayed 8.14am train to London Waterloo surrounded by a herd of huffing, puffing, middle-aged commuters that you really get a feel for the non-student, post twenties, ‘office-worker’ way of life. Yes, fellow Bubble inhabitants, the world does actually go round between the hours of 5am and 9 am, however alien that may seem.

Some people have asked how on earth I got this opportunity in the first place. The thing is I’m not sure of that myself… I saw their post on Facebook: “House of Holland is looking for an intern, if you think you’ve got what it takes, email us with your CV.” I didn’t think twice and sent them my CV with a short covering letter (pick me! pick me!). I got a reply the same day from Emily, the Web Coordinator who, as I quickly found out, is also the one of the kindest and most helpful people in the HofH team. We exchanged a few emails, I was given a spec with their expectations and although I didn’t know how to do everything on the list, I blagged it and arranged to come in for a trial afternoon. It was all very informal but as you can imagine I was beside myself with excitement. Before I knew it, we agreed I would come in three days a week. It was up to me to make this work; I was just going to have to juggle Uni life, Uni work, travel and the internship. I wanted this too badly to give anything up!

The studio is set up so there are effectively two sides: Production, where the garment samples are designed and made, and Sales & Communications, where Emily and Jess get busy making House of Holland a crazily hyped up company. And then there’s Henry, who just looks so effortlessly cool. Everybody and their mother want to interview him and he nonchalantly complies. How the man has enough hours in the day is anyone’s guess; he is just very good at his job.

My tasks for the first few days were pretty much limited to counting the Pre Spring/Summer 2013 stock for the website, which although a bit tedious at the time actually gave me a better understanding of the clothes sold on the website, quite basically what was what. You wouldn’t want to confuse the Tee dress and the Tea dress; how embarrassing right? It was a good way to settle into the studio, to get to know the people who work there and to get a feel for the way the company is run.

After a few days of helping out with website orders, I was asked to bring things to and from companies in London. This meant getting a real feel for London Underground’s do’s and don’ts. I thoroughly enjoyed the travelling, although it was often in the cold. I got to go to places that I hardly knew existed from Mayfair to East London, trying to take in as much of it as possible. I can’t have done a very good job of it as it still feels so surreal. Mind you, it’s not every day that you get to meet Louise Gray or get stuck in a lift with two six-foot tall models.

If anyone is wondering whether or not a placement or internship is worth it, I can tell you right now to just go for it. All in all, this experience was a great one and I couldn’t be more grateful to those that helped me work it all out. This has been rewarding in so many ways, and I guess is something I’ll always remember, however soppy it may sound. I hope I’ve encouraged you to take any opportunity that comes your way, be it in fashion, teaching or even engineering.


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