One of the most successful ways to make it in the fashion industry is to intern. Considering that this particular fraternity is strictly guarded, and not very congenial to “newbies”, interning provides you a rare opportunity to enter the community, learn, network and possibly land a job.
|Goodbye internships – courtesy Conde Nast|
This is why it was a bit upsetting to know that one of the biggest publishing houses in the world, Condé Nast, has announced to discontinue their internship program from fall 2014. This particular house has over 25 publications, with the likes of Vogue, GQ, Allure, Glamour, Style.com, Brides and Bon Appetit under its umbrella, and enjoys an influential position in the fashion journalism industry. Now imagine the opportunities lost due to their decision and its impact on people who were counting on this particular gateway to make it as a fashion journalist or editor. Distressing, right?
Obviously, this decision was not made on a whim. Condé Nast was faced with lawsuits from interns over ‘not being fairly paid’. It is true that companies have come to rely on interns to run errands that are possibly more suited for a paid, assistant editor, and therefore conflicts with the state laws guiding internships. Industry insiders have been quoted as “unhappy” with the decision, and are “wary” about handling the workload without interns.
The way I see it, internship is a great investment for your career, be it paid or unpaid. The exposure and opportunities you get access to is truly priceless and must be appreciated. For my sake, and those trying to create waves in the fashion journalism industry, it is a sad day. But I also understand the pressure uncalled-for-lawsuits put on a company. Having said that, I do hope Condé Nast devises a plan to provide opportunities under a well-defined system in near future, and continue churning out fantabulous editors as it has in the past. Fingers crossed.
P.S. On a lighter note, watch ‘The Internship‘, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. A really good movie. Enjoy.