Intern Diaries: Notes from the Fashion Underground is a column that goes straight to the source of the fashion industry--the free labor. In this column, anonymous interns tell all about their terrible bosses and entitled coworkers as they endure ridiculous tasks which include, but are not limited to, fetching dry-cleaning, going on coffee runs and acting as a substitute nanny. This week's intern is a male college student working at a public relations firm during New York Fashion Week.
12:03 P.M. First day of interning, I walk out of the apartment and forget my keys inside the door. Fashion’s Night Out was the night before, to give an indication as to how I’m feeling.
12:20 I arrive at the venue, 20 minutes fashionably late and find the other interns. I greet them and awkwardly mingle as I profusely sweat from my eleven-block trek from my apartment.
12:23 PR bosses aren’t here yet, I’m quickly learning that no one is on time in the fashion industry. The other interns gab about their dinner reservations at STK. I want to roll my eyes, but I’m starving and secretly want an invite.
12:28 PR bosses arrive in a whirlwind with bags, clipboards and Eastern European girls wearing all black.
12:45 PR bosses are stressing because we are behind schedule. They start looking over the seating chart and start complaining about who is seated where.
12:53 Team meeting wraps up and I’m assigned to help with seating, which is awesome because I’ve never done that before and have no idea how it works.
12:55 I sneak a picture 007-style on my iPhone of the seating chart to study.
1:14 Change of plans, I’m re-assigned to outside check-in. The other interns still won’t talk to me, or invite me to dinner.
1:50 I loiter outside the building while we wait for photographers to arrive. I befriend the building’s security guard. I’ll take what I can get at this point.
2:00 Check-in is a cluster… the PR boss tells me not to let anyone in, and suddenly I have a Vogue editor yelling in my face. Great, I’ll never get a job in this industry now.
2:08 PR boss comes down and hand-picks a few guests to let in; Becka Diamond, Susie Bubble, but no Vogue editor. She proceeds to make me feel like a less-than-adequate being in so many words.
2:15 Let everyone in.
2:30 Still traumatized from check-in, standing in the heat outside. Oh, and I may have an ulcer.
2:38 A car pulls up, Kate Lanphear hops out. She’s my fashion idol.
2:39 After greeting the PR bosses like chummy old friends, I’m told to escort Kate to a front row seat. Um, I’ll do anything for this woman.
2:40 I’m magically turn from hurt puppy to geeky fan boy as I bring Kate to the elevator. I awkwardly remind her of the time I saw her on the street and freaked out. She “recalls” and compliments my teal hair.
2:41 I'm having elevator talk with Kate Lanphear, is this real life?
2:43 Show starts, I watch from the side with the other interns.
2:55 Show is over, that was fast. I spy some bloggers including Fashion Pirate and introduce myself.
2:56 I bring FP backstage. I like to think I’m paying it forward, fashion industry style.
3:00 The other interns and I get an hour break. We find a coffee shop and I have my first meal of the day – seriously.
4:00 The other interns finally let me into their clique and we head back to the venue, for the second show of the day.
4:05 We have to stuff gift boxes for the next show. This is the kind of menial intern task I had feared.
5:00 I'm really good at stuffing boxes. Possible career alternative if that Vogue editor never hires me.
5:15 In our second staff meeting, PR bosses tell me this show will be more relaxed. I can only hope.
6:00 Check-in for show #2 is running much smoother.
6:05 I see a woman approaching the door; it’s the same evil Vogue editor who stole my soul when she accosted me at the earlier check-in. I immediately let her in without question. I think I redeemed myself.
6:30 Show starts (late, naturally). We’re supposed to be at the next venue by 7:00pm. Well that isn’t happening.
6:59 The other interns and I realize PR bosses already left and are at the next venue. We panic and race over there.
7:02 Um we can't find a cab.
7:03 Found one.
7:12 Arrive at second venue, I buy the cab ride in hopes of an invite to dinner at STK.
7:15 Physically starved.
7:23 A stylist tells me and the other interns that we can eat the catering. Best news all day, dig in.
7:30 Team meeting, more standing for me.
8:00 I get my guest list for standing check-in and see some friends on it. Thank God no more Voguettes.
8:30 I’m at my standing positing next to an alley where I’m pretty sure illegal things happen.
9:00 I’m feeling pretty great about making sure these guests are on the list, it’s for standing room after all. I rush everyone in the elevator, then run up to the show.
9:20 Show finished, no STK invite so I head to an after party.
10:40 Quickly realize I am too exhausted to hang out, call it an early night.
1:00 P.M. I arrive at the venue, actually on-time for once.
1:03 Start wondering why my call time is two hours prior to the show.
1:10 Other interns show up, they tell me about their night at the bottom of The Standard. I trump that with stories of my night at the Boom Boom Room with Lindsay Lohan.
1:20 Besides feeling lethargic and weak, there really isn’t much for us to do right now. We go over the RSVP lists and scope out the venue.
2:00 The show producers recruit me and the other interns to walk the runway so the photographers can set-up their shots.
2:02 I’m glad I’m feeling skinny today.
2:05 I realize that this show producer is a little insane and I’m having a hard time understanding the complicated formation she wants the models to walk in.
2:10 Me and the other interns strut our stuff.
2:11 Apparently we’re walking all wrong, a photographer yells at me and tells me I “walked out of frame”. Like I even know what that means.
2:23 Still standing in for the models. This is getting stressful, and I quickly realize I would never want to walk in a fashion show.
2:30 Team meeting and I’m assigned to assist with seating, Qué sopresa!
3:00 Guests begin to filter inside, I recognize a few friends and seat them in a “special” section. What can I say? I like to feel powerful.
3:25 The show is finished and the other interns and I decide to walk around Meatpacking before our next call time at 6:00pm.
4:15 Over snacks at Villa Pacri the other interns inform me they’re not going to come back for the second show because they’re flying out later this evening. I guess I’m riding solo tonight.
6:00 I’m back for the next presentation.
7:00 Press begin to arrive, some crazy looking old ladies show up first with a TV crew. The PR heads are not pleased.
7:05 Crazy old ladies take a seat next to the check-in table, PR heads are pissed.
7:15 PR head basically asks me in so many words to get these grannies out of here.
7:20 I tell the grannies that the chairs they’re sitting on are needed backstage and that there is additional seating outside the venue where they can sit. The grannies aren’t pleased, but they leave.
7:21 I feel like such a boss.
7:58 The lobby is filling up with guests and press, I’m told to hold the curtain. Again, I love feeling powerful.
8:00 I’m given the OK to open the curtain to let the guests in.
8:05 I’m stationed at front of house check-in. I mingle with the Eastern European girls; they’re super cute and super chic and make me feel like an ugly American.
10:00 After standing by check-in for the past 2 hours, I’m exhausted and am relieved of my intern duties
5:45 P.M. Having a fairly relaxing last day in NY, I decide to take my time while I get ready.
6:00 I get out of the shower and see an email from the PR head saying that our call time is moved up from 7:00pm to 6:30. So much for taking my time.
6:13 Run out of the apartment, not looking nearly as fabulous as I had intended.
6:17 Like a moth to a flame I instinctively run into Starbucks for an iced coffee. I grab a marshmallow dream bar because A) apparently I have the cravings of a 12-year-old and B) judging by the past two days of interning, I have no idea when I'll eat next.
6:33 I'm at Union Square. Not anywhere near the 11th Ave. & 21st St. - coordinates of the venue. I send an "I'm running late" email to PR boss.
6:47 Arrive at the venue.
6:48 Eat my marshmallow dream bar in a corner, every other intern/PR in the room glares at me as though I'm fresh meat and they're hungry lions. My marshmallow dream bar is dinner. I'm not sharing.
7:03 Team meeting, we go over the seating for this show. It's shaped in a zig-zag and it's confusing. If I were dyslexic this would be impossible to understand.
7:07 The designer has a few in-house PR people he brought, meaning my supreme check-in skills are rendered nearly useless.
7:10 I'm assigned to help dress models backstage.
7:24 I was most excited to intern at this show because I love this designer.
7:33 Still backstage assisting, I try on a jacket. So sue me.
7:50 I'm hanging out with a group of people near runway, I ask a guy decked out in the designer's clothes if he works for the designer. He replies with a "...yea" and gives me a "go away" glance before he ignores me and talks to another girl. At this point I'm not even phased.
8:15 Boss gives me a final run through of the seating and shows me where I'll be standing. She tells me not everyone in my section has a specific seat assignment but to "use my best judgment". Um, last time I did that I got yelled at by a Vogue editor.
8:45 Doors open and people filter in. For some reason everyone is basically assigned to my section but, as warned, without a seat number. I place people at random and hope for the best.
9:03 People with seat numbers in my section show up, but I've already placed others in their seats. These guests aren't happy.
9:04 I'm getting nervous and feel my ulcer coming back.
9:06 I troubleshoot with another intern and decide to put on my best "in charge" face and instruct these guests to fill in elsewhere.
9:10 Problem solved, once again I'm boss.
9:12 The crowd looks good, I spy editors including my holy grail Kate Lanphear.
9:15 Everyone is basically seated and because the runway is a maze, I'm basically trapped.
9:16 Lights go down and the show begins. I scamper through the runway/maze like a lab rat and snag a seat in the front row.
9:27 Models do the final walk. The designer runs out behind the last model and gives a wave. It's the guy who I "asked" if he worked with the designer. I feel like an idiot and could seriously kill myself right now.
9:27 Show is finished and of course, it was amazing. Not only was it one of my favorite designers, but front row didn't hurt either. Ah the perks of interning.
10:01 I say my good-byes to the Eastern Europeans and the PR bosses, they tell me they'd love to have me intern again in the summer. I'll take it.
10:15 Walking back to my apartment, I can honestly say interning with a fashion PR firm during fashion week is a lot of racing, standing, waiting, rushing, thinking, compromising and, well, learning. I wouldn't have traded the experience for anything but, um, I couldn't be more thrilled that it's finally over.
Are you a fashion intern? Interested in contributing? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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