NYFW wrapped up this past Thursday here in NYC and it’s been a hell of a week. Whether you were in the front row, backstage, or watching live casts, I hope you got to enjoy the best of this season. I was working this season and unfortunately didn’t get to go to any shows, besides the one my company held, but it was still as thrilling as I had imagined. This was my first year working and it was a fantastic experience. I learned a lot, met a lot of fantastic people and can’t wait until February.
If you did not get to experience it this season, don’t fret there’s another season around the corner! I do want to share some insight if you plan on working or volunteering next season that will be crucial in you getting the best experience possible.
- Wear flats or any sort of comfortable shoes: Trust me on this one. Whether you’re working or an intern, you’re going to want some comfortable shoes with you. If your company prefers that you wear heels, because some are crazy and might, keep a spare pair of flats in your bag. During Fashion Week you are running around like a crazy person and most of the time it doesn’t depend on your position, you’re all hands on deck to make this show run smoothly and without a hitch. There is no complaining so you best be prepared when you decide to bust out some heels that those feet are going to be swollen and blistered by the time you’re done, even if they are the most comfortable shoes you’ve ever worn.
- Be humble: This is probably something that doesn’t cross most people’s minds when they intern, volunteer, or work an event. There is so much happening around you and tons of people to meet and an endless list of things to be done. Remember, you are background - you’re there to assist and help those that are putting the show on. This is not a time for it to be the all about you show. Be humble that you were given this experience and be thankful for the opportunity. Most people don’t realize that when you try to take too much advantage of the situation, you come off like a social climber who’s simply trying to make contacts and that’s your sole reason for being there.
- Black clothes are your one and only uniform: I read an article once about a woman’s first event in PR - she showed up wearing a bright blue, vintage 80’s dress and was completely humiliated when she realized she was the only one wearing something so ridiculous. As i mentioned above, you are background. You can’t draw attention to yourself by wearing something over the top and ostentatious because let’s be serious here, you are neither a model on the runway nor a front row sitter where you can get away with it. That’s not to say that one day you can’t - my AE’s above me don’t have to wear all black (of course they only wear black and white) but they still are polished and put together. Being someone in a lower position, you need to abide by these unspoken “rules”, in a sense, because your main purpose is to work and be that extra set of hands.
There really isn’t much else that needs to be stressed because it’s really just basics that you should already know. But these three things, I think, are the most important to remember when you are given an opportunity to either work or volunteer during Fashion Week. But let’s also not forget, have some fun, enjoy the show - you’re human and allowed to enjoy the experience, as long as you remain professional throughout.
I technically have a B.A in Psychology. It was after college that I realized I no longer wanted to pursue a career in Psychology, and that’s how I started my fashion journey. I think that it’s still good to have because it’s a broad spectrum degree and can be used in just about any field.
That’s a tough one. I never interned at a magazine before and tried to make that transition so I don’t know, but I think that to some degree you might be able to. It truly all depends on the firm, but I still think that you should intern at least once for a firm just to make sure you get some PR experience as well. I think the best thing to do would be to email someone from a firm you would be interested in and get their opinion because I think that’s the best way to know, because as I mentioned every firm is different on the level of experience that they want. Good luck!
PR is a tough industry to break into. It’s particularly hard when you don’t have enough experience as well. In my posts, I always talk about the importance of interning because it’s the best way to get hands on experience from the industry’s best. Especially in this industry, making sure your experience is relevant and up to date is one of the things that will help you the most; no one wants to hire someone that hasn’t worked in PR for 3 years because it’s an industry that’s constantly moving and changing, even more so when you are in fashion PR.
After some time, I felt that I needed to take another step above interning but not quite into a full position. I didn’t want to intern because frankly, I wanted to start making money. I didn’t feel that I had enough experience to jump right into an account executive position, but I needed a middle ground to both get experience and make money because paid internships are hard to come by. The step between intern and position is freelancing. Although technically you are in that position, you aren’t permanent so while you are handling many tasks that are done, you don’t have them all. What I mean by that is you may be more internal and may not have to deal with clients first-hand or any sort of client dealings which makes the job easier because sometimes clients can get a little prickly.
I started freelancing after an internship but before my first real position and the best part was that the firm that I had done my internship in was the one to offer me the temporary position. Freelancing was a humbling experience, mostly because when you intern, you sometimes think you know how the job works but in fact, there’s way more under the surface. I freelanced at that firm for about a month and worked strictly with the accessories team. I had originally wanted to wanted to work with only apparel, but I found that I loved accessories much more (in fact I work on an accessories team now!).
As I mentioned earlier, sometimes as a freelancer you are internal. In my case, I was, which meant that all my day to day tasks were corresponding with my AE only and not with any editors or clients. I helped prep for client meetings, writing weekly reports, pulling images for requests, etc. All the work that I had completed, I sent straight to her and she sent to the appropriate parties. Although I didn’t directly speak to anyone outside of the office, I was CC’d on all emails so I took it upon myself to go through every one and understand how she connected with clients, how she approached editors, etc.
It was the best experience because I got more experience than I would have if I had just kept interning. You don’t realize sometimes that when you’re interning, you aren’t going to learn everything that an AE does but will mainly be sample trafficking or working on other such projects. It was definitely also a perk to be getting paid.
I highly recommend to anyone that feels as though they’ve interned enough, to find some sort of temporary to permanent position because it’s another step in building your resume and keeping your experience relevant. There are so many great agencies that can help you find these positions as well because sometimes they aren’t listed online or anywhere that you can find them. Do your research and see what is available out there for you because there are options aside from interning.
If you have any questions about what to expect in a freelance role or how to get one, ask me here!