Students take high fashion internships

Amanda Sowards

Ranging from small, local companies to large, international behemoths, Kent State fashion students are finding their niche in the fashion industry. With the summer quickly approaching, juniors and seniors are preparing for internships across the country, armed with experience at companies such as Arkadius, Oscar de la Renta and Ohio Knitting Mills in previous semesters.

Before their internships start, fashion students are required to complete their junior level classes including professional seminar, which teaches resume and cover letter writing skills.

“In many ways (professional seminar) is the precursor to an internship,” associate professor Nancy Stanforth said.

Marissa Atkins, junior fashion design major, said the class helped her prepare for the real world and gave her a heads up on the competition. Having industry connections also helps students attain jobs.

Atkins said she heard from a friend that a Kent State alumna needed an intern and would prefer a Kent State student. She started working for the New York-based sportswear company Adam+Eve three weeks ago, where she attends designer meetings and fittings and makes corrections to garments.

Tiffany Grob, junior fashion design major, will be interning at DKNY in New York this summer and said she got her internship by getting her name out and applying to companies, even when she thought she wasn’t qualified for the position.

“Send your resume to as many people as you can and call, call, call,” Grob advised. Being aggressive lets employers know students are interested and motivated.

Research is also important when looking for internships. Stanforth advises students to look for an established program but more importantly a company that is excited about having interns.

Finding short-term housing once a student acquires an internship can be difficult but Atkins said the Fashion School at Kent State University in New York helped by offering student housing. The school gives students the opportunity to spend a semester studying in New York, complete with housing that is also open to interning students and recent graduates.

Atkins juggles a full-time schedule and her job with Adam+Eve by practicing time-management skills.

Grob said she helped plan an event every week when she worked at French Connection U.K. (FCUK) in New York and didn’t realize how fast-paced the work would be. While organization is key when planning photo shoots and fashion shows, Atkins and Grob both agree learning to roll with the punches and acting on a whim is essential.

New York internships give students the advantage they need to get ahead. Grob said her experience with the city gave her a familiarity she will need in the future as well as important connections.

“I don’t see how I could do it anywhere else,” Atkins said.

Stanford added internships are a chance to try out different jobs to see what gets you excited.

However, students don’t always like their internships. Stanforth said even if students don’t like an internship it shows them what they really don’t want to do. She said it is mostly the job they don’t like and not the industry.

Grob said her job was in FCUK’s personal relations department, and while it wasn’t something she was initially interested in, she said she learned a lot about the industry and would do it again.

In the rare situation that a student realizes she doesn’t want to be in fashion, “fashion will translate into more jobs than you might think,” Stanforth said.

Contact fashion reporter Amanda Sowards at [email protected].