7 Things I Didn’t Expect To Learn About Fashion As An Intern
1. The industry abides by ridiculous email etiquette.
- a) Everyday is a holiday, begin all e-mails, “Happy ____ (insert day of the week).”
- b) When in doubt, add tons of exclamation points. “Sorry I lost your samples!!”
- c) Signing e-mails “xxx” is the new “best.”
2. Maybe I should’ve wanted to be a hair stylist. Does it get any better than charging $150 a day to fish-braid a model’s hair, then stand around at the photo shoot waiting to tuck fly-aways in place, while eating catered gourmet food? Oh wait, I guess it does – waiting to undress models isn’t so bad either.
3. Models are human.
- a) They eat. At photo shoots I’m shocked when models not only go for the brownies, but sneak seconds, even thirds! Stuck in traffic on a long RV ride from a shoot on location, I chatted with the model and she confessed, “Leave me alone for too long and I can’t stop eating,” as she ate right out of the salad serving tray. If only we were all lucky enough to eat when we’re bored and still make a living off being skinny.
- b) During fashion week backstage they sat in hair and makeup as attached to their smart phones as any other twenty-something.
4. Street style bloggers are to fashion what paparazzi are to celebrities. “I dress for Scott everyday,” a fellow intern admitted during fashion week. If you can’t score front row runway seats, or even standing, next season sit in front of Lincoln Center and you’ll still get a show. Street style bloggers wait for stylish people (average folk, crashers and editors) entering and exiting shows to photograph them, sometimes in a forceful paparazzi manner that requires chasing and begging.
5. The people who care the least get paid the most. Most fashion photographers seem to care less about fashion and they’re paid the most, while stylist assistants live and breathe it for $12/hr, 12 hour days.
6. Steaming is an artform few can master.
7. Even if you know nothing about fashion, properly pronouncing designers’ names makes it sound like you know everything. It’s Givenchy [zhi-vahn-shee; Fr. zhee-vahn-shee]! Baby steps.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”