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Your Guide to Fashion Internships and Careers

A fashion major can allow you to pursue many paths.

With a major that has so many career options, choosing to study fashion gives you many types of internships to consider. Whether you want to apply your design skills, writing skills, or business strategy skills, there are many ways to break into the fashion industry. An internship is a great way to start exploring these different pathways.

How do you get a fashion internship in college?

You can research employers in the fashion field on Handshake by using the Handshake employer search feature and filtering by “Industry.” As with all competitive internships, start looking early, in January or February for a summer internship.

Networking can help you get a coveted internship. Look for alumni of your school who work in the fashion industry (your career center may be able to connect you), and ask them for an informational interview.

Where can I intern for fashion?

If your favorite brand doesn’t have an intern program, don’t despair. Fashion internships for college students can be found in a wide range of companies and industries. Even companies that don’t have a main focus on fashion are looking for interns in design, marketing, and strategy roles. Focus on the skills you want to learn, and be open minded about internship options.

Are fashion internships paid?

Many internships in the fashion industry are unpaid, or pay a set stipend. Consider whether you can afford to take an unpaid internship.

If you need a paid role, get creative. What skills do you want to develop? Find an internship that helps you deepen the skills you’d need to work in the fashion industry.

Are internships necessary for fashion majors?

While it’s not required, internships are great opportunities for growth and networking. It can give you a chance to immerse yourself in the world of fashion, giving you a look at everything from potential career paths to learning about your company’s supply chain, ad strategy, and other behind-the-scenes knowledge.

We recommend researching internship opportunities to make sure you’ll gain new skills, since fashion internships can vary widely in their day to day tasks. Search for other interns’ reviews online to find out more the experience you’re signing up for.

Careers you can pursue as a fashion major

Fashion Designer

Fashion designers create clothing, accessories, footwear using artist talent, proper training, and a meticulous eye.

Companies you can apply to: Abercrombie & Fitch, Red Bull, Partizan Entertainment

Average pay: $73,790

Editor

Editors revise and prepare materials to be published in print and digital media. They often work at newspapers, magazine publications, book publishing houses, and media networks.

Average pay: $33,280

Journalist

Journalists come up with ideas, interview experts, and write stories that are current and relevant to readers.

Average pay (can vary based on location, employer, and and topic expertise): $30,000

Copywriter

Copywriters are in charge of writing compelling content both for a company’s internal and external communications. Their tasks can range from blog content to social media to ad copy, and much more.

Average pay: $63,000

Purchasing Agent

Purchasing, merchandising, and procurement agents––also known as buyers––select suppliers and merchandise for a company to resell at the wholesale or retail level. By negotiating contracts and evaluating multiple vendors, they are responsible for providing the best quality products for the company they are buying for and work in industries such as apparel, food and beverage, and consumer packaged goods.

Average pay: $50,000

Photographer

Fashion photographers can help select locations and backdrops for photos, set up lighting, and take the shots. They might photograph models, clothing, or accessories for magazines, catalogs, advertising, or social media. They need to have great editing skills as well. A photographer can work for an agency or be a freelancer.

Average pay (varies a lot based on experience and type of work):  ​$44,000 

Art Director

Art directors oversee the vision and execution of said vision for industries such as magazines, television, or specific products. This is a management role that requires excellent leadership and people skills in addition to creativity and vision.

Average pay: $94,220

Tips and tricks for your fashion internship

Tips for your resume and profiles

Before you get started on sending out applications, make sure that you have your resume up to date and have fully filled out all your Handshake profile details. With a complete profile, an impressive fashion internship is more attainable than ever. Recruiters are much more likely to message a student with a complete profile that says you want to work in fashion than an unfinished one.

Tips for your internship interview

When you do land your first interview, be it a virtual interview or in person, make sure to come prepared and dressed to impress. Review your resume and cover letter to make sure you have specific examples of your experience to share, from clubs or coursework. You can even schedule a mock interview with your university’s career center or, if you’re tight on time, ask a trusted friend to grill you on some common interview questions.

Tips for networking at your fashion internship

Once you’ve landed an internship in fashion and settled into the flow of day-to-day life at the office, start chatting with your coworkers. Whether they’re industry professionals or fellow interns, it’s important to treat them with equal respect. You never know what insights they could lend, or who could be a valuable connection down the line, five or ten years from now. Don’t be afraid to ask your new colleagues out for quick coffee chats, or request 15-minute informational interviews about their career trajectory.

Photo by Lauren Fleischmann on Unsplash

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