Early last year, I applied for an internship at an up and coming online retailer called London Ethnic. They are an ethical retailer with a difference, selling a range of clothing and accessories that have meaning, substance and style. At the moment they are currently working with over 20 designers and brands from a range of different places meaning that all the collection have a different aesthetic. Some have even shown at Fashion Week and other trade shows. What I noticed about the collections that London Ethnic sell, is that each piece has a story or a meaning behind it, some are even made bespoke for the customer and care is taken into what fabrics and trims are used to ensure that the products are ethically sound. This is so refreshing compared to many ‘fast fashion’ brands that have been in the media at the moment.
I was so happy when I found out that I would be able to intern there over the Summer break as I had been looking for some experience for SO long! I would be interning as an Assistant Buyer, something I had never done before – unless you count walking around Bluewater shopping centre! I thought it would be interesting to try something other than design which was what I was predominantly interested in.
I still remember walking in on my first day, shaking like a leaf and then being put at ease when meeting Saumen, the Managing Director of London Ethnic. It was all systems go on my first day as after my briefing and introduction, we were off to the London Collections: Men show to have a look at some up and coming talent. As first days go, it was pretty amazing! I got to speak to some designers, look at some amazing (and some crazy!) pieces of tailoring and shoes AND I met fashion and styling icon Alexa Chung (who was lovely by the way!)!
Throughout my three months at the company, I got to experience so much within the fashion industry that I never would have been able to do without London Ethnic behind me. For example. I got to attend lots of trade events such as Scoop International, Pure London and even London Edge to try and scope out some new brands and designers for the company. This was so beneficial for me because I was able to speak to designers and other members of the industry and get a feel for what it is really like in the professional world. Also I felt valued and as part of the team as much as the others as my opinion was listened too and I was able to pick some designers for the company!
During my time at London Ethnic, we were planning a charity fashion event to raise money and promote our name within the industry. So side stepping from the fashion aspect of the role, I had to research into venues, charities and other event related issues. I was able to liaise with people from different companies via email and face to face meetings. This was VERY daunting at first as I was waaaay out of my comfort zone but it allowed me to build on my confidence and prepare me for industry later on! Touching on events planning was good fun and it was nice to try out something completely different!
My three months at London Ethnic was a whirlwind as it went really quickly but I loved every minute of it! I was able to try so many things like the trade shows and photoshoots, I even wrote an article about the company for a magazine in Dubai! It really confirmed that this was the industry that I want to be in and I can’t wait to return to it in my placement year and after university! Interning as a buyer as opposed to a designer was an eye opener for me as it made me realise that it’s so useful to touch on different aspects of the fashion industry rather than just focusing one so early on.
Answering my first question, was it worth it?, I would definitely say YES! It opened a lot of doors and I met so many amazing and interesting people! Also having some experience on my CV before applying for placements and other internships will be helpful too! Check out the London Ethnic website at: http://www.londonethnic.com.
Have you already interned? What were your experiences like?