How to Land Your First Fashion Internship?
Updated: May 6
Every professional career starts with a first job or the most common, a first internship. The fashion industry too, needs you to kickstart your journey with an internship, and this applies to every single field within this glamorous domain. Why is this important?
Well, when you’re looking to start in the industry, you may not be a newbie to it but you are one to the profession. Learning something and implementing that knowledge to produce results in the actual world outside are two different things.
An internship in the fashion space is your first step towards a successful career. A small step but a very important one. You cannot look at missing this step and reaching higher. That just results in a great fall, doesn’t it? So, yes, an internship is your first step after learning what it takes to enter its professional world.
What Do You Need to be Armed with to Qualify for an Internship?
- Intention to strive
Intention is everything. You may have been educated in fashion with the right passion, interest, and skills, but your career only starts there. And, you need to be equipped with the willingness and intention to strive, work hard, and dedicate yourself completely in order to qualify for an internship. Without this, you may fail to complete the tenure of the internship, hampering the start of your career before it even kicking off.
- Intention to kickstart your career with a vision
An internship, especially your first one, is a part of a bigger plan, a bigger vision. A small part but it is still a very important one. Here, you not only enter the professional journey with fresh excitement and zest but also with a fresh slate. It is important to remember that however insignificant your first internship may seem, it is actually preparing you for the professional journey ahead. It is a part of a bigger picture, so when you do land your first internship, you need to be armed with the intention of perceiving it like that.
- Intention to learn without pay
Not all internships pay, especially those in fashion. Here, you are expected to work like an employee but without a pay, which is fair. Why, you ask? Well, firstly, it is giving you an opportunity to enter the professional world with no work experience. Secondly, it is another but a different kind of learning experience for you, where you gain more than the employer. And well, every professional journey in fashion has to start somewhere, right? Don't chase the money but the experience and brand name for the first internship.
That experience and brand value will pay you much more in the long run. Don't get it? When you've interned at a respectable brand, they've given you access to the backend of how their organisation runs. You gain knowledge which is absolute gold and will take your resume a notch higher for future internships and jobs. Have your eyes on the larger picture and don't fall shortsighted to immediate gratification.
- Essentials that speak – Resume and Portfolio
You may have the right skills, passion, and intention to land a dream internship, but if you don’t have the right resume and/or portfolio, your career may never take off. Your resume is your presentation of sorts, it is a crisp and clear account of who you are, what have you done in the past to qualify for this internship, and where you’re headed now. It essentially talks about your background in terms of education, experience, and projects, and then it talks about your inclination to work in the industry in one single line. Moreover, there are some internships that offer opportunities without any portfolio, but some may ask to see a display of designs or artwork that depict your aptitude and creativity in the said field. So, before you start applying for fashion internships, make sure you have your resume and a portfolio ready.
How Can You Get Started?
1. Make a list and find your calling
Once you have your resume and portfolio in place, the next step is to make a list of brands, fashion houses, or publications that you may want to work for. Today, you have the whole world available to you at your fingertips, which makes this process of research a lot easier. Get on the internet and Google keywords with respect to the kind of fashion businesses you want to associate yourself with. It may be a company you’ve personally loved or something that you stumbled upon on social media, or just a name you came across in your research. Make a list and then head to each name’s website and find their point of contact, their email address. Make sure you have your resume and other essentials in place, and shoot them an email, conveying your interest in interning with them. More on this in point no. 3!
2. Find out why you want to intern at a particular company
Another thing that you got to do before you make that list or even after that is to sit and actually determine what kind of a company you see yourself working for. Do the names you’ve shortlisted seem like an accelerating boost for your career? Will they help the path you want to embark upon? Will they add value to your professional journey and align with your plans and visions? Answer these questions for yourself and decide what kind of a fashion brand or business you want to kickstart your journey with. Do e-commerce fashion platforms like Ajio and Myntra interest you or is it a sustainable fashion brand? Is it a couturier or are you open to exploring everything in fashion at this point? Find the answers to these and alter the list accordingly.
3. Make sure your resume and cover letter are personalized and compelling
And, we come to the star of your application when you apply at an internship in fashion – your resume and cover letter. We’ve spoken a great deal about how and what your resume should include, but let’s not forget the cover letter. Often missed out on, your cover letter is a must in any email or job application. While your resume simply states what you have done, what you do, and what you want to do, a cover letter adds substance and a personality to it all. So, what is a cover letter? It is a summary of your resume but with added value in a paragraph or two. Put your intention clearly in those 5-6 lines. Tell them WHY you want to work with them, what is it about that brand or business that draws you to be a part of it. Tell them WHY you are a perfect fit for the role of an intern. Highlight your achievements and highlight your willingness to learn. But, when you mention the above, make sure you don’t get carried away to bluff and go overboard with the brand flattery. You don’t want to seem like you’re trying too hard. Keep it natural, professional, and to the point. Remember, less is more. Lastly, don’t hold back and let your personality shine out through the letter and your resume both.
4. Customize your cover letter and the CV if needed
The biggest mistake you can make as a job-seeker and someone who is looking to intern is shooting a common email with a common cover letter to all the companies shortlisted. Consider this as a big no-no. Every brand or fashion business that you will apply to will be different with different requirements and distinguishing features. Your cover letter and CV need to reflect that. Here, you are targeting a specific brand, so your application must be tweaked and tailored wherever necessary to appeal to that particular brand. Let the brand truly know that you want to be a part of the team, you want to learn under them, and you are willing to do what it takes.
5. Not giving up is the key, and adjusting is the open door
Again, success doesn’t come easy, seamlessly. It takes some falls, some rejections, some patience, and a whole lot of intention. When you are trying to land your first internship is fashion, you need to be positive and open-minded to possibilities. Be open to rejections, be open to better internships, and also be open to struggles and difficult internships. Keep striving, keep trying, and keep working hard until the day you realize it was all worth it.
The Concluding Takeaway
Your professional journey in fashion is called a journey for a reason. It takes time and isn’t always smooth. While you try out the above-mentioned tips to land your very first fashion internship, you can also always seek help from the internet. Besides research, it can offer you a range of websites that help you look for internships in every industry. Some are Internshala, Linkedin, and Indeed. There are also some websites that offer you opportunity options specifically in fashion too, like FashionJobsIndia. Nevertheless, if doubts or questions are being raised in your head, then you can always resort to Designer Didi.
Pssst! A series dedicated to the same is on YouTube!