So first of all, what actually is an internship? The dictionary definition describes it as; the position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience or satisfy requirements for a qualification.
This may sound crazy at first considering you might be potentially working for free. However, do not be misled for one second by the importance of streetwear internships, especially at graduate level, or if you have no previous experience in the industry. An internship in streetwear is a great way to get a job in the industry, building not only contacts you will use for the rest of career, but also sound skills and advice you will need throughout your work journey. Here’s some sound advice about streetwear internships for those who are looking to make their mark and break into the industry.
Be open to working with different brands
Just because you love Supreme, BAPE or Nike doesn’t necessarily mean they will accept you in as an intern. Although the majority of businesses nowadays do an annual intern intake this doesn’t mean you will necessarily land it with your dream brand. Be open to getting in contact with different brands and put together an email template you can amend as appropriate for the specific brand in questions. Highlight what you expect to gain from the experience, your desire to work for the brand once the internship has finished and what you can offer them that will make you stand out from the others.
Be open to negotiating to terms of the internship
Ok so you’ve got an email back from the HR department of your dream streetwear brand, you’re really excited about the reply however your gut is telling you aren’t sure about what they are offering. The majority of roles will be based in city centres so if you live in the suburbs, or even further a field, you’re going to need to cover travel costs for the duration of the internship. There is no harm asking the brand if they will cover your travel costs, the reality is a lot of brands feel this is the least they can do, considering they are getting a free potential employee for a few months. You may also have to go to college for example on a certain day which means you need to change the days worked, do not be afraid to negotiate your rota as well. Streetwear internships need to work both ways, not just for the brand/employer but for you as well.
Be prepared to travel
As mentioned above the majority of streetwear internships will be based in the major cities across the world. If you have a 5 mile radius mentality when it comes to travelling for work then don’t expect to get the internship you want. Be prepared to travel for the role, this might mean re-locating for a few months to the required area. Do you know anyone living in that area you could house share with for a few months? You might also need to travel a long way for your daily commute, just bear in mind this is not a permanent thing. If you do have to commute for 3 hours everyday you can always catch up on your favourite box set on Netflix for example. Make the journey your time and not a negative side of the internship.
Make a lasting impression
To make it absolutely clear, a ‘can’t be arsed’ attitude won’t get you anyway. Treat the internship kind of like a test, if you pass the test you could potentially land a full time paid role. Although the employer or brand are by no means obligated to offer you a full time role after the internship ends, going the extra mile and showing willing for extra tasks and projects or just simply thinking outside of the box will never go unnoticed.
Be mindful of your role
As an intern your role shouldn’t really be doing general dogsbody tasks all the time. For example picking up cardboard boxes for those who can’t be bothered to after picking out stock from an order or other meaningless tasks. Make it clear at the start of the internship that you expect to be given important roles or support the people who are doing these roles. You won’t be let loose as a fashion editor for the day, but there is no harm in showing willing. If you aren’t happy with the work you are been given and feel it is not showing your true capabilities stand up and make your voice heard. An internship isn’t an excuse for an employer to get free staff for a month to tidy, sort or clean their offices, it’s for the intern to gain the right skills in their required field in the streetwear industry.
This is helpful to those who want to make it in the industry. Great stepping stone for those who aspire to work for big brands.