The fashion world’s illusion of a fun, happy and colorful life with endless photos of clothing, parties, events and travel makes it seem like the fashion is a frivolous career path. Beginning my career in fashion isn’t as glamorous as the illusion of fashion perceives to be. Starting my career in my passion began with my interest in learning about how a fashion brand works. I applied for 7 fashion internships throughout the past year and have finally started working at Velvet Heart for the past few months this year. As my internship approaches its end, it’s time to reveal what the secrets behind the world of a fashion brands.
Velvet Heart is a L.A based, contemporary, women’s wear line that follows the hottest trends while remaining faithful to classic pieces that can survive years to come. They’re merchandise is mainly sold in Macy’s, Dillard’s, Burlington, TjMaxx and certain locations of Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. As an intern the cinematic life of a fashion intern on The Devil Wears Prada, aren’t too far off from reality. My daily tasks were picking up drinks at Starbucks, tagging and organizing clothing for showrooms, buyers and meetings, organizing paperwork from orders and tech packs, using Microsoft Excel to log garments and being a photographer’s assistant during photo shoots. At first my managers didn’t bother with learning my name because of my short amount of time of work with the company, I was simply referred to as “she” “girl” and “the intern”. When my coworkers talked to my managers, my coworkers had to speak to me to refer me to a task my manager might have needed me to complete. My managers didn’t always speak to me directly. However, one of the nicest experiences I had a when I was an intern for less than a month, I visited the showroom and the vice president and merchandise manager took me out to lunch and gave me lots of fashion career advice. They made me feel welcomed. Overtime, everyone knew my name and my situation changed. Thankfully. This experience taught me the importance of diction, wording and respect in how to interact with others. When I become more experienced with my company’s expectations I was asked to do more tasks like photographing garments for logging purposes, trimming hems for garments before meetings, recording measurements of future designs , editing all the grammar on Velvet Heart’s online site and asked for advice for posts on social media.
In between all my tasks, I watched the designers design garments, my coworkers interpreting the designs on Adobe Illustrator, photoshopping images for the online store and scrolling across other retailer’s websites for inspiration for the future. I walked across the halls and every wall was filled with images of magazines and fabric swatches. Every day, with people of different departments like design, marketing and business. I overheard all the heated discussions about the business and its future for making a profit for the seasons ahead. Plans for new designs, photo shoot ideas, advertising ideas, profit margins and etc. Personally, most of my time was spent with the marketing and e-commerce department because I had a best connection with the marketing manager and the tasks were fun to me. However, despite all the tasks and people I have met, I learn best by observing and making my own interpretations. Throughout my days at Velvet Heart, I mainly remained silent to watch and to complete my tasks at my best level. Although speaking can allow me to be closer with my coworkers and managers, I knew I was there for a learning experience. I want to get the most of my time and complete every task to the best of my ability. Asking questions every now and then relieved my curiosity. As long as I remained serious, I could be taken seriously.
My experience as an intern taught me the process of the business behind a fashion brand:
1. The process of finding inspiration.
2. Designing a garment.
3. Making the accurate measurements, illustrations complete with swatches, button details on the computer.
4. Sending the design to China, having it manufactured in China and shipped back to the United States.
5. Having the garment be presented in showrooms and meetings to buyers of various retailers.
6. Advertising all the new styles for the upcoming season.
7. Selling the products on e-commerce and retailers.
The most important lesson from this experience is learning my purpose in my pursuit in the fashion industry. I’ve most enjoyed working with the photographer on photo shoots, styling images for social media and contributing my writing for Velvet Heart’s online site. Photography takes a lot more time than I ever imagined in the fashion industry, photo shoots for advertising, social media and e-commerce are shot in 2 days taking around 7-10 hours for each day. Photo stills take around 1 hour to shoot for social media and e-commerce styling ideas. Thousands of pictures to get the perfect shot is time consuming, but rewarding. Enhancing my knowledge through the practice in writing and photography in Velvet Heart, let me practice the two things that I’ve always had a passion for. It takes a variety of tasks, to know what I like and don’t like in my future career. The only way to know is to try it all out.