Reflections on fashion industry internships

Emme Hollingsworth takes a deeper look at the experiences of St Andrews students who've undertaken internships in the fashion industry.

Styling by @claudi.l.brown Model @bluebellwooi Photography by Sepehr Malek

For years, Claudia L Brown has designed her own clothing and pursued her creative interests. This summer Ms Brown embraced two fashion industry internships representing a polarizing contrast in experience.

Her first experience was a seven-week subeditor and social media position where she endured eleven-hour days and numerous workplace violations. Management at this well-known fashion publication structured a hierarchical framework down to the employees’ seating; therefore expecting their unpaid interns to work from the wooden floorboards. Additionally, Ms Brown and her colleagues were denied refreshments, including water and coffee. She urges individuals in pursuit of a fashion industry internship to understand the detailed expectations and obligations of your potential position before committing to the internship. Further, she suggests signing a contract and standing up for a fair and healthy work environment. Ms Brown’s second internship proved refreshing and inspiring. For five weeks, she worked with Vogue and enjoyed classes from Condé Naste College of Fashion & Design. The design course fostered business skills, while her time at Vogue brought inspiration, gumption, and motivation. Ms Brown amassed a network of models and invaluable industry contacts; she was delighted to find a genuine workplace with confident, ambitious, and helpful individuals. After graduating, she will consider design school but aims to become a freelance stylist and looks to launch her own label in the next two years. As Head Stylist for Irish Fashion Week and a freelance stylist with Universal Studios, Ms Brown translates her dreams into reality. Look out for her fashions around St. Andrews. Be sure to check out her instagram at claudia.l.brown and stay tuned for her website,

Last summer, Tasha Fischer embraced a ten-week internship with Burberry for a global marketing and public relations position. Her experience underlined the importance of networking and enabling strategic contacts through company events and press relations. Undeniably there will always be competing and successful peers, but Ms Fischer reiterated that hard work will be noticed. She says to be yourself and be confident. She debunked the notion that the fashion industry is merely a superficial façade. Ms Fischer noted that her time at Burberry marked an important high market movement toward body positive marketing and representation, thusly opening a long overdue conversation. This summer, Ms Fischer worked for Ariella, a fashion house for special occasion wear. Hired as the social media manager, she quickly accumulated various positions and hefty tasks, including becoming a personal assistant. Working for a smaller company, in comparison to Burberry, she endured extreme expectations unrestricted by company formalities.  However, she felt it was a necessary experience in time management and negotiating responsibility with a superior to establish a positive work environment. Ms Fischer stated that self-motivation it key, and furthers this concept by suggesting to request feedback in everyday work, or in the form of an exit interview.

This summer, Seher Roychowdhury was a visual merchandising intern with Tory Burch for ten weeks. The company’s program included 40 interns, but only three in her division. Ms Roychowdhury enjoyed her work in the creative department, specifically the visual focus, which included the store windows, store layout, furniture and fixtures inside the stores, and the showroom. In the showroom, she helped arrange the showroom according to who would be walking through, for example individuals inside the company or buyers from shopbop. Ms Roychowdhury notes that her experience was unique and unlike a “typical nine-to-six sit-at-your-desk” internship. Though Ms Roychowdhury does not think she will pursue a career in the fashion industry, she was fascinated by the attention to detail that the company requires, stating, “even if it were things I would never imagine would contribute to a company’s success.”

For some, an opportunity in the fashion industry is the ultimate dream. Luckily, Ms Brown, Ms Fischer, and Ms Roychowdhury, got to pursue their passions and further their ambitions. Let their experiences be an inspiration and a caution to your own pursuits.


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