MY FRIEND THE FASHION INTERN

I’ve decided to bring some of my friends’ stories on to The Sunday Blah. Their stories are small, but interesting nonetheless. Most of them are twenty something, finishing up their degree, doing internships or starting to work.  Since I’m struggling with the big “What’s next?” question, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, I thought it might help to have a look at what some fellow ‘young ones’ are up to. This week I’m telling you the story of my friend Lotte, the fashion intern.

“I found Kim’s ad on the website of the Flanders Fashion Institute, for my masters course an internship is compulsory so I was immediately interested. Kim is Kim Stumpf, an upcoming Belgian fashion designer who is mostly known for her knitwear. I went to the interview with some things I was working on at the time since I didn’t have a proper portfolio yet. Kim seemed to like what I had to show her, so I could start that summer.”

Lotte at work.

Job description

“My days working there were really varied. In the beginning I could be part of the talks about the summer collection of 2013. We discussed which techniques would be used in the production and the measurements for the different sizes. One sample couldn’t be made at the company Kim gets her clothes made at. It had to be crocheted. By hand. So I had my occupation for a week. Making that dress took a lot of time but now that piece is probably going to be in the window display of the well known designer boutique ‘Stijl’ in Brussels. That’s pretty cool if you ask me. In general Kim included me in everything that was going on so I got a good impression of what being a starter in the fashion industry means.”

“Of course going to the supermarket, ordering sandwiches and vacuuming the office were also part of my job description as an intern.”

Paris

“Thanks to my internship I also got the chance to experience the fashion circus in Paris. First we went to the enormous fabric fair ‘Premier Vision’ to choose samples for the collection of winter 2013. That weekend was a bit hectic. After the first day of going to fabric manufacturers’ booths and choosing sample we had to go to our hotel. Because of several obstacles on our way we didn’t get there on time and couldn’t go to our room. It seemed that every hotel in Paris was fully booked that weekend. Which was probably true because of the fabric fair. We ended up sleeping on a camp bed in the staffroom of another hotel at 3am.” “The next day I could choose some leather and knitwear samples on my own. I thought it was great that Kim trusted me enough to let me do this on my own. I did need a Coca-Cola break after every booth due to the lack of sleep from the night before.”

“The week after I accompanied Kim to the Parisian fashion week. She rented a showroom there, a lot of beginning designers do the same, it’s cheaper than a runway show and that way the press and buyers can still get to know your brand. It was fun to meet some ‘fashion people’ and do a first attempt at networking” “Paris always means a bit of chaos. For example, I had to quickly sew together some silk scarves that had just arrived from India that weren’t completely assembled. “

Afterthoughts

“This experience has taught me a lot. Watching the fashion industry in close up was exciting and interesting. To see a print I helped to design come to live in a piece of clothing was great, at school we never go that far in the creating process. I also realised that being a fashion designer is not for me, it’s definitely the fabrics that I’m passionate about not the cuts. Kim wrote me a really nice recommendation letter, something that will come in handy when I’ll really have to sell myself after next year.”

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