Unless you are a celebrity or MTV has decided that you’re dull yet seemingly poreless enough to star in a reality show, interning at fashion companies and magazines here in the U.S. tends to be highly unglamorous. You have to carry garment bags around, hide from your superiors in a windowless fashion closet, organize shoes, and get coffee, all while keeping up with Twilight. You may, in this country, have to do all of this for no pay or school credit. However, things might be worse in the U.K., where employers of interns might actually be cheaper than they are here.
“That studio had no heating and sometimes no light in the middle of winter, with us piling on jackets, hats and gloves and straining our eyes while stitching toiles by candlelight,” Anna Heinrup recalled.
She was not describing the working conditions of Dickensian London, but her last job as an unpaid design intern for an up-and-coming London designer.
In London, designers are required by law to pay interns who do actual work, but they easily skirt this by not telling anyone they actually keep interns. Many of these interns have already graduated from design school. The good thing about this practice is that it causes young grads to set up their own companies so they can earn money. And to — depending on how cheap they are (or how much money their parents give them) — perhaps pass on the torture their up-and-coming former employers practiced on them.