​35 things you learn from being an i-D intern

Being a fashion intern can end in tears, broken suitcases and dead dogs (RIP Tatler Alan), but sometimes they don’t deserve the rep they get on TV. Georgie Wright has written 35 things she learned after three months as an i-D intern.

by i-D Staff and Georgie Wright
|
07 July 2015, 12:20pm

@georgie_wright_

From schlepping returns across town in pouring rain at rush hour and shriveling up from Vitamin D deficiency after days/nights/weekends hoveled away in the fashion cupboard, to downright exploitation - fashion internships are a minefield of horror stories. Fortunately, it's a different story at i-D. There aren't a million interns, it's paid (and not just the usual 'expenses' that assume you survive on rice alone) and crucially, it's treated as the learning opportunity that internships should be. Consequently, this list may be a little swayed by the candy flavored, prosecco-fueled experience I had. Another intern at another place will no doubt have 35 very different tips to take away from their experience. So take 'em all with a grain of salt - or, if you score an internship at i-D, a bucket of sugar.

1. People are nice
Unfortunately, a helluva lot of devil in Prada stereotypes will see you walking round for the first few weeks perpetually surprised when people actually ask how you are. But you soon learn that actually, fashion people are just that - people. Fully functioning hearts and all.

2. Be nice too
Sure, you have to do your job well. But equally important - if not more - is your attitude. Don't just be someone people can work with. Be someone they can share crisps with, laugh with, lipsync The Darkness songs across the desk with.

3. But sometimes, don't be nice
Otherwise you will end up in a half an hour conversation with three of the six franking machine companies you requested a quote from. Phone call curtness is key.

4. Making mistakes is OK
And not just when you accidentally give out the wrong number to the other three franking machine companies and save yourself an hour and a half on the phone.

5. Learn from your mistakes
If you constantly fail to learn how not to spill water all over your keyboard, you'll end up doing worse and spilling beer all over the floor in front of i-D founders/gods Terry and Tricia…

6. Learn from my mistakes
See above.

7. Ask questions
If you don't know how to do something, ask (see #1). If you don't know what someone does, ask. If you don't know how something works, ask. The beauty of being an intern is that people don't expect you to be perfectly versed on the ins and outs of how everything works. This is your opportunity to scratch below the glossy surface and find out.

8. But remember: Google exists
Don't waste your boss' time getting her to to guide you through descaling a coffee machine - there's a George Clooney Nespresso customer service line for that.

9. Say yes to everything
Anyone can, should and will ask you to do things. Nothing is beneath you. Say yes. Say please.

10. Say thank you
Every job, no matter how 'small', is an opportunity to prove yourself. So…

11. Do everything to the best of your ability
That's not just a whiteboard you're labeling - it's a masterpiece that'll be adorning the office walls long after you're gone. Use the damn ruler.

12. Take initiative
Contrary to many an intern adage, it's not all admin and coffee runs. People are generally willing to let you try your hand at things you're interested in - be it writing, assisting on shoots, choosing the party food for the never-ending stream of birthday drinks. But to fit it all in, you'll have to…

13. Make time
Work a bit late. Get up a bit earlier. Come on, most creative places don't start till ten. You mightn't be able to afford freshly squeezed green juice, but you can afford to squeeze in an extra hour alongside your budget brand morning OJ. Unless you…

14. Get drunk at the work party
Just do it. Ain't no team bonding like an office-wide hangover.

15. Make friends
You're surrounded by people with similar interests, senses of humor, and denim overalls. They're not just colleagues and contacts, they're bloody cool people who you'll want to stay in touch with for many a pizza/prosecco/fro-yo/fro-marg date to come.

16. People in fashion eat

17. A lot of sweets. 
Sourced from many an overseas press trip.

18. Do the shit jobs voluntarily
The most appreciated thing I did throughout my internship was cleaning out the overflowing office fridge. It's a glamorous life.

19. It's OK to have a life outside work
It's easy to feel like you should be working 24/7 to try and show you care and you want it and you love it and you deserve to be there and you love it and hi hi hi remember me plz!! But balance is key. You'll be better at your job if you're not burnt out from it.

20. Learn from everything
Transcribing all day err' day? Figure out how the interviewers get the answers they want. Answering numerous phone calls? Practice not using your high-pitched default phone voice. Plastic-bagging every single issue for the archive? Be grateful for the most interesting history lesson you've ever had.

21. Take a joke
A sense of humor goes a long way.

22. Make a joke
A sense of humor goes a long way.

23. Figure out where you want to sit
And not just beside the person with the best snacks. There are so many different jobs and parts to a creative business. Learn what you like, love and loathe. It's an invaluable guide when it comes to the next phase of your career - finding an actual job.

24. Blessed be shopping trolley and elevator
Magazines are heavy. Clothes are heavy. Snail mail isn't that heavy, but trolleys are still just more fun.

25. Always carry hay fever pills
After an issue is released, the office suddenly transforms into a florist. You want your eyes to match the flowers - always white.

26. There is a magic box of rejected press gifts. Scour it
One woman's River Island is another's Chanel. Key rings! Books! Cheap fake tan that will render you an Oompa Loompa! Who cares! It's free!

27. Meet the deadline.

28. Even if that means

29. Taking (minor, necessary)

30. Shortcuts

31. Because news waits for no one
As you'll discover after spending all day on an article, only to have to pull it after the folks down the road publish a too similar one first. See point five.

32. Listen
There's so, so much to be learned from just listening. How people do business, what ideas work, who you want by your side at the next karaoke night.

33. No one wears heels to the office
Most people don't even wear them to the party. You and your heeled feet will resent such people for the rest of night.

34. Make yourself memorable
Even if that is making a habit of singing Rebecca Black's Friday on it's namesake day, so that whenever Friday rolls around after you've left they'll lament the loss of that delightful tune floating through the office… Oh wait.

35. If Drake #startedfromthebottom, you can too. 

Credits


Text and photography Georgie Wright

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