Forget the glitz and glam — here’s the truth about fashion closet internships.
When Debbie Lechtman interned in the More magazine fashion closet she knew that the job would be hard, but nothing could prepare her for the reality she was about to experience. “I knew the days would be long, but some days I was there from 9 to 1:45 in the morning,” she says. Her anal boss and the crazy hours made her re-evaluate what direction she wanted to go within the industry.
For Xuedan Wang, the fashion closet internship she landed at Harper’s Bazaar was unforgettable. It left such an impression on her that she filed a lawsuit against the Hearst Corporation for ill-treatment. Wang claimed her internship “violated federal and state wage and hour laws by not paying her though she often worked there full time,” a New York Times article stated.
The growing culture of mistreating interns is not new. While no fashion closet interns from SU have sued yet, several students had internships that were grueling and far from glamorous.
Jeniffer Amparo found her time at W magazine to be an exhausting and physical nightmare. “I did a pick up for Prada and the things probably weighed as much as I did. I came back with bruises and I’m sure no one who is getting paid is doing that, she says.
Mohammed Diallo interned at Self, Lucky, and Nylon magazines. Of these three, Nylon was the most difficult. “Interns were yelled and barked at a lot of the time,” he says. “They didn’t even call us interns , they called us kids.” To make matters worse, he once had to walk the editor-in-chief’s dog and pick up his “poo.”
Gregory Miller, SU grad and current New York Post features assistant, interned at Lucky, Self, and T magazines. Lucky was the worst he says — his duties were “pure bitch work.”
Miller was forced to deal with a boss who was “lazy and condescending.” Some daily activities included filing his boss’ nails and spending hours searching for missing items. He once spent a week looking all around the office for a missing pair of Louboutins and it turned out the editor had taken them to wear at an event.
“They don’t treat interns like real people. It’s kind of a joke. You take the internship and you think you’re going to learn, but you don’t learn shit. It’s just free labor,” he says.