Life of Kika Collage

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Internships and Fashion School: Is it a waste of time?

I read a post from Antwerp Fashion Blog about the exploitation of unpaid interns and how the fashion industry only looks out for the rich yadda yadda the usual conspiracy behind fashion. But is the chase to get into the industry a waste of time? I have interned at fashion houses from time to time and I met the usual group of fashion heads who were aspiring to be the next Anna Wintour (Gross) or even Lauren Conrad (Even More Gross). Every one wants to be in fashion and usually its annoying to see everyone call themselves designers and entrepreneurs when most of the time they have no idea what they are getting into. But I like to stay positive about the opportunities given at any internship. I have met incredible and sincere people who have taught me the foundation of fashion and the industry overall. I have learned a lot from my internships and I am grateful for the opportunities that I have been blessed with. Every one knows just how hard it is to break into the mold. And to be honest, not every one is going to crack into that mold. I can't even say anything for myself because the chances are so thin. Every person is going through the competition of making it somewhere and our way of thinking is becoming toxic to our creative growth. We are doing it all wrong. 

I think that the fashion students are stuck in a vicious cycle of failure. We go to college, work our asses off, get our degree and go and look out for a job to be the next best thing. Fashion School disciplines us into thinking that if we create a few garments and make a great portfolio, we can make it anywhere. But Fashion School is just like any university. College teaches us the balance of integrity and discipline. When I first attended college, I thought I knew everything and in the end my professors broke me down and taught me that there are endless things to learn. I listened to my peers and sucked up my dignity to break outside of my creative mold. I have dealt with professors who told me that I had nothing to bring and I took that with pride and shaped myself into a better designer. I was intimidated by the amazing talents other students and I thought I was never gonna be up to their standards. And than I though to myself, we are all in this together to learn.

I knew a few students who were excellent at sewing and rendering illustrations. They were at the top of the class and all the professors loved them. One day, I ran into one of my old classmates at an old internship and she was nervous about making a good impression. She already had a good portfolio and graduated with top honors. The first few weeks, she had been running around the city doing countless errands for the design team. She was tired and felt like people were taking advantage of her. She didn't know how to defend her dignity and didn't enjoy her time there. The truth of the matter was, she wasn't talking to any one, she kept to herself and thought nothing about networking or building her status. I told her to push herself and she easily gave up on herself. I hope that she sees her talents and sees what she can offer for others.

People in fashion don't personally care for your talent, yes its important to have a vision of what you want to create, but it's all bout persona and attitude. I'm not saying that having skills of sewing, or designing are useless, but there are more skills to obtain and learn. Having people skills and carrying yourself in a professional manner around others matters the most If you see failure at a first try, you don't see the point of trying. I believe both school and internships shape you as an individual to understand how to interact with others, sell yourself and show everyone your creative personality. There are people who aren't as blessed as those socialites and it might not seem fair, but if you feel like you deserve it more, you are entitled to go as far as you want to. 

Graduating fashion school and doing internships from time to time is not just eye candy for your resume, but it also branches you into different networks and groups of people. Yes, I've had my moments where I felt worthless and not needed in a world of glamour and prestige. It's intimidating and you feel like you are just like the rest of the needy little people. But just like the real world, you can't give up on yourself. You need to be resilient and push through your struggle. It's not about becoming famous or befriending celebrities. Fashion is a celebration of life and expression. Don't compare to others if they are given opportunities you don't have. Look at everything in life as motivation. If you carry yourself with a negative mind thinking that life is unfair and that every one is getting ahead in life, you are all doing it wrong. I have to tell myself this every day because we all struggle with self-worth. 

All that I want to focus on is networking and build up a following. I work on the side and I design whenever I have free time. It's not easy to find a decent job after graduating college. I'm not in a rush to have a career, but I am building up on my opportunities and skills. I'm not planning on becoming a celebrity or exploiting myself. I want my own fashion house, I want to be in charge of my business and celebrate people's success and creativity.     

Antwerp Fashion Blog:

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