What it's Like to Intern in Fashion

“Suddenly, I see this is what I want to be.” 


This is the song that I would blast in my headphones as I power walked 42nd St. every morning trying desperately to not let the public see my Google Maps, which would indicate that I was, indeed, a rookie. I had my peanut butter granola bar in tow as I placed my massive tote around my shoulder, and strutted my way towards the subway. 


I felt unstoppable as I walked the streets of New York, indiscreetly looking at my reflection as I passed another Pret-a-Manger to make sure my outfit was still intact. I was headed to one of two of my summer internships; the summer days filled with boredom and restlessness were long over - I was an adult now. 


But there’s no complaining here. I was finally living my dream: working in fashion. I knew this was where I wanted to be ever since I was a young girl. I recall sitting on my parent’s bed as an impressionable six-year-old watching ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ and being completely mesmerized by the frantic fashion world it portrayed (yes, I am aware that I mention this movie in just about every article I write – it has now become my signature). 


I spent years studying this wonderful world. My room became dominated by fashion magazines and my time dedicated to binging seasons of Project Runway. I knew I wanted to enter this industry, whether it was running around downtown Manhattan carrying a twenty-pound pooch (yes I have done this), or traveling to the Magic City for Miami Swim Week and getting to meet credible designers and media moguls (I have also done this). Fashion was for me. 


So when I received word I landed my first fashion internship in the fabulous NoHo, Manhattan, I swelled with excitement, gratitude, and the inevitable anxiety. My dream was coming true right in front of me - but was I ready? I mean, I never even been to the city without the company of my mother or a friend. And those subway horror stories? Those tapes from the subways that play in the morning on my local news’ channel seemed to play on a loop in my head whenever the nerves started to kick in. 


But there was no stopping me. My opportunity was here, and I would not fail to seize it. 


My first day quickly approached. I curled my hair (ok, my mom curled my hair - I didn’t say I was completely an adult), spent some time styling my new jumpsuit I purchased the night before and was out the door (of course, not before my family members snapped pictures of me). I headed to the bus stop, quickly got on, and killed the commute by listening to some music. 


When the bus arrived at Port Authority, I quickly shuffled out along with the crowd of men in suits and women strutting in heels and entered the hectic 8th Ave. I was fairly confident I could find the subway station I needed to get to because my GPS said it was just a few blocks away. As I scurried to the station, avoiding the overflow of Times Square tourists and every man approaching me with a pamphlet for a city tour, I realized I was lost. Despite whatever I told myself, a few blocks in my hometown was different than a few blocks in Manhattan. So, I took out my Google Maps, deciding it was better looking like a tourist than being lost, and headed toward my station. 


After my arrival, I headed to the ticket machine and received my first Metro Card. Bright and yellow, this card was my reminder that this indeed was all happening. Bursting with eagerness, I stepped onto my train and headed towards my internship. I entered the doors of the building in Downtown Manhattan and headed up to the office. I was greeted by a nice employee, who took me for a little tour of the office. 


It was straight out of a movie - a marvelously modern kitchen was inside, and there was beautiful art, dawned on each wall, fueling the fashion office stereotype. But my time gazing around the office was cut short when I was given my first task - to go to Brooklyn and drop off a package. Although I successfully survived my first subway ride, I was far from being an expert. However, I took the task with confidence and headed out the door. 


I successfully made the trip and was reassured that I can do this; I was meant to be here. I had several other moments like this throughout my internship. Whether it was accompanying my boss to a SoHo showroom, or getting into a slight altercation with just about every Staples employee in Manhattan, every experience reaffirmed that I was doing this. 


Before I knew it, I was emailing different designers who I looked up to, mastering the New York subway system and cursing out New Jersey traffic just about every evening. The ultimate “pinch me” moment came as I received a call from my boss, inviting me to accompany the team to Miami. I would finally be meeting all the designers I heard about and seeing their amazing new collections. Not to mention traveling to sunny Miami, where I have never been before. 


Aside from the incredible opportunities, this internship provided me with the chance to meet some of the most amazing people, all of whom I look up to immensely. From my fellow interns who filled my days with so much laughter and exposed me to some of the most delicious dining in the city, to my superiors who took me under their wings and were willing to teach me everything. These people truly made this internship the best experience of my life. A dream that once seemed so unachievable…was indeed being achieved.


I woke up every morning excited, for I didn’t know what that day would entail - would I be putting together PR packages for important Instagram influencers or running to Rent the Runway to fetch my boss’ outfits for the week? The summer flashed before my eyes, and before I knew it, my internship was over. 


On my last day, I received a card from one of my bosses, and she wrote “you are going far.” In that moment, tears swelled in my eyes, as I recalled the little girl sitting on her parent’s bed watching ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ waiting for her dream to come true. 


It was here, and it was happening.