The 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 unpredictable bosses, ridiculous tasks and what they learned at the end of the day. This week's intern is a 20-year-old female college student working for a magazine in London.
DAY ONE, FRIDAY
8:00 A.M. My alarm goes off. I hit the snooze button, of course.
8:15 Snooze again and drag myself up to the shower.
8:55 Iron my clothes, even though I am about to be squashed on the tube by other commuters.
9:30 Make it on time to work, despite delays on the train. First duty is to tidy up the office from any late night working, even though there is a professional office cleaner. I start washing the mugs that are littering the office.
9:45 There is a staff meeting that I am not invited to, so we, the interns, are left to man the phones. One of us speaks to an editor (I tell them to ring back in a bit or drop an email) and two PR people call asking about the fashion closet about returns. All the fashion interns tell PRs who ring to send us an email with pictures of the items they need back. One caller points out that this is her third time asking for the samples and all I can reply, again, is, "I have no idea, I wasn't here when those were called in." Sorry.
10:15 Items start arriving for a shoot tomorrow. I have to check them in, arrange them for the editor run through and chase things that haven't arrived yet. This probably the best part of my day- receiving the right pieces that the editor requested. It means I don't have to find alternatives or keep pestering the PR teams. On the other hand, everything that comes in has to go back to where it came from. Meaning, I will have to send it back. (Well, something else to look forward to...). Some Celine heels that I love so much have already arrived!
10:30 Ring a PR company about some missing Jonathan Saunders items. According to them, the pieces won't be back in time from their shoot abroad. I knew it was too good to be true.
11:30 More pieces have arrived and I leave the office with a large suitcase to pick up more pieces in person. Thank God I have my own weekly Oyster card (our equivalent of a MetroCard), or this would be expensive. The suitcase wheel breaks after two stops. Perfect.
2:00 P.M. Almost back at the office when I get a phone call from the office saying that there is something else to pick up from where I just came. How annoying, but I notice that I have a few missed calls from when I was on the tube. I turn back around and grab some lunch on the way.
3:30 Get back to the office and thankfully almost everything has arrived. The other interns checked them in, so I start to unpack the things that I just picked up, laying out the shoes and accessories and hanging up the clothes.
3:50 Told that I'm going on the shoot tomorrow (Saturday) with one other intern. I will have to rearrange my weekend, but I am so excited as I will get a fashion assistant credit in the magazine that I can add to my clips! I will also get to see the fashion editor in action and learn how to do her job (my ultimate career goal). Not a lot of fashion interns get this opportunity - most just stay in the fashion closet.
5:30 The last thing arrives and now I'm waiting for the fashion editor to come in to edit down and select pieces to take on the shoot. The shoot location is still unconfirmed.
6:25 The editor rings. She won't be coming in and won't say why. Guess that means we're taking everything in three suitcases (including the broken one). With one of the fashion assistants, I over-stuff the suitcases with clothes, extra hangers, shoes, accessories, the editor's stylist kit, hand steamer and a garment rack. We're ready.
6:45 The other interns have already left (we're only supposed to stay until 6:30), but since I am going to the shoot, I stay late to make sure everything is set for tomorrow.
6:50 The east London location is confirmed. We order a cab to take us and all the clothes to the location.
7:45 We arrive at the shoot location. It started to rain during the journey, so we get soaked carrying everything inside and up the steps.
10:20 I finally get home, have some toast, lay out my clothes and jump straight into bed. There is no time for anything else as the call time is 8:00 A.M., which means I have to get up around 6 to get there on time.
DAY TWO, SATURDAY
5:30 A.M. My alarm rings for the first time and continues at 5 minute intervals until 6:05 when I get up quietly, trying not to wake my roommates.
6:20 I pick out a black dress and flat boots to wear today. I want to look good, but be comfortable on the shoot as I will be running around.
6:35 Leave home. The trains and tubes have just started running. There are engineering works on a Saturday, but they don't affect my journey.
8:00 I arrive on the shoot and the other intern is already there. Hair and makeup have also arrived. We put up the rail and start to unpack. I take charge and we organize the clothes by designer in alphabetical order.
8:15 Editor arrives and has kindly brought breakfast for everyone. How sweet!
8:20 Photographer arrives. All the other crew know each other and have worked together before so it is a friendly atmosphere. He puts on music.
8:25 Model arrives and hair and makeup start to work. After eating quickly, the other intern and I finish unpacking and arranging the accessories and start to steam the clothes. I mean, I steam. The other intern doesn't know how and refuses to learn.
8:35 Editor starts putting together looks. The magazine advertisers are the main priority, so those designer pieces are pulled first as options.
9:00 Hair and makeup is finished, so the other intern and I dress the model whilst the editor and photographer discuss outdoor locations. It's a little less grey than usual in London, with even a glimmer of sunshine. No chance of ruining the clothes with rain!
9:30 We have ten shots to take, so one intern stays with the clothes and steams while the other goes to scout street locations and shoot with editor, model and photographer. We each carry a change of outfit, spare accessories and pins with us. You always need pins. The other intern goes for the first two shoots while I stay back.
11:30 Everyone comes back and I start the credits- a list of every item the model wore. I will have the fun task of chasing up stockists and prices from PRs on Monday. We dress the model in the third look and then it's my turn to go with them.
1:00 P.M. Stop for lunch at a cafe and ring the others to come join us. For the record, models do eat. They just make better food choices than the rest of us.
3:30 After shooting a few more looks outside, the photographer decides to shoot the remainder of the spread inside.
7:00 All the shots and credits are finished. The intern and I pack up, thank everyone and order a cab back to the office to drop everything off.
8:15 Leave the office. I was supposed to go out tonight, but as I'm tired and have work at my other job tomorrow (to support myself through the internship) I go home to bed.
DAY THREE, MONDAY
8:15 A.M. I finally get up to shower.
8:45 Leave the house early so I can grab Starbucks on the way in
9:30 Get to the office, eat my breakfast and then move the things from Saturday into the closet.
9:45 Start to tackle the shoot returns. The return date is today, so we have organize them to deliver back in person. There is no messenger budget; we are the messengers.
10:00 Editor won't be coming into today, but she wants the credits ASAP. I send out credit requests to the PRs.
10:15 Karla Otto needs to pick up ASAP, so I get those pieces ready to go. One of the other editors wants to keep pieces from yesterday. I try to check with Karla Otto, but they don't get back to me before their messenger arrives to pick up. The pieces were already taken out. Just another thing to deal with later.
11:30 We finally finish organizing the returns by designer. Two other interns take the first lot. I don't have to go as I'm still working on credits.
12:00 P.M. I only have two credits completely done as the PRs aren't getting back to me.
1:30 Ring around again. One PR tells me she'll call back with the info. I won't hold my breath. I don't get it. Surely she would want the credit in the magazine promoting her brand?
3:00 I have half the credits, but I have around two and a half hours to get the rest (PRs start closing at 5:30pm).
3:30 A small designer rings in to ask about returns. I have to tell them we don't have enough interns to return their items today. I figure if they want/need the pieces enough, they'll send a pickup, and I am right. It wasn't as urgent as they said. Tomorrow is fine for the return.
5:30 Have all the credits except two because of the time difference from PRs abroad. I send what I've done to my editor. She's happy for me to get the last two tomorrow. I start making requests for pieces she's sent me for another shoot in my draft folder that I'll send those first thing.
6:30 Get out of the office with time for some much deserved post-work drinks!
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