It's New Generation week and who better to talk to about the trials and tribulations of a day in the life of an intern than one of i-D's most fabulous? Brightening up the office with Moschino belts, kiss-curls, french plaits, giant pearls and even bigger platforms, Adam Fletcher inspired us and hopefully he got something out of i-D too...
For the most part interns are like marmite: you simply either love them or hate them. They’ll become your best friend and stay with you until the end, or have an attitude problem and speedily announce that they’re quitting. Or sometimes not even announce it and never return with your returns. But one thing you cannot deny is that nowadays they’re central to the running of the fashion industry. Without interns the fashion industry could arguably be out of business before you can say Ann Demeulemeester.
It is comforting to know that designers like Tom Ford, Betsey Johnson and Gareth Pugh were all interns before making it big. However, when you decide to be an intern, be prepared to hear these crushing words from those closest to you: “Your mother and I have been talking and we feel that it may be time for one final push.” What even is a final push? What your family are really trying to say is that they are not going to be supporting you any longer. Due to the many negative representations of interns in the media – Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, Mark Indelicato in Ugly Betty and Lena Dunham in Girls – people are led to believe that being an intern means being exploited, and that by the end of it you’ll have deserted your big-city high-fashion lifestyle for your former, provincial one, and swapped back your gifted Westwood bag for your old, unlabelled piece of tat. Oh, and that your boss will have been terrifying, and you’ll have had to juggle picking up her steak lunch and getting her children the unpublished manuscript of the next Harry Potter book within hours, at penalty of death, or worse – being fired. Although some tasks may leave you feeling like you’re not a functioning sentient being, we often overlook the fact that internships offer invaluable experiences and can lead to permanent jobs in the future (you just don’t know when). But your mum and dad’s principles are sensible - and based on value for money - so can you really blame them?
An i-D internship is set up so that there are effectively two sides: general office and editorial. Being a general office assistant means manning the phones, updating archives, organising the post (you’d better work and learn those names quick). You’ll need to passive-aggressively explain to the courier company that the returns need to go in one delivery van. You’ll help to move studios (even if you think you’re too pretty for that). Although it doesn’t exactly sound like the glamorous role you were expecting, you’ll booty clap like Beyoncé when Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and Natalie Westling come in the office. You’ll jump at the chance to take polaroids of a group of male models and feel like you made it rain when you get your hands on a ticket to a GILES show (front row of course, dahling). The latter is editorial assistance, which will be your opportunity to express yourself, a chance for you to write about a show or trend that inspires you and have it published. Get ready for your close-up.
Another exciting job for the fashion devotee is assisting on editorial shoots. Even if it’s in Zone 3, the call time is 7am and you’ll have two days worth of returns on Monday morning, it’s completely worth it. You will work with a team who are at the top of their profession and use clothing samples that you saw just yesterday going down the runway. As the J.W. Anderson samples arrive on location, you won’t be able to resist trying them on and taking a selfie. And when the looks that you specifically called in are featured in an editorial, you’ll know your game is tight.
But, as super model Heidi Klum, host of TV’s Project Runway says (before dismissing designers from the show): “In the fashion world, one day you’re in... the next day you’re out.” So to in the intern world: futures are volatile. If your internship only lasts three months and things can go from 0 to 60 in 3.5, especially with a looming print deadline, how will you be remembered? Just because you have had your name printed in the masthead and you once made it in one of i-D’s videos, it doesn’t mean a thing.
My advice: be brave. If you weren’t a drag superstar before your internship, you will be afterwards. This is your opportunity to dress like the shoots you’ve seen in the magazine. And, like me, if you can’t afford the labels, just throw a little glitter on it, honey, and go.