At Jeremy Laing my responsibilities would vary on a day-to-day basis. While working with a small company you have a chance to participate in all of its aspects. My tasks at this internship evolved along with my position. When I began, I was responsible for hand sewing, quality control, tagging clothing, organization and various other tasks. After a few months their trust began to grow and I was then cutting fabric, altering patterns, travelling to fashion shows, helping with model fittings and experiencing all the backstage excitement of runway shows. Closer to the end of my internship I had proven my commitment to the company and so became able to help with orders, communication with merchandisers and manufacturers, drawing technical, and organization of company financials. Working for Jeremy Laing was so much more than just an internship. It taught me where I would like to be in the fashion industry as well as the ups and downs to owning a business.
Abercrombie & Fitch was a completely different experience! Coming from a small luxury brand to a multi-million dollar fast fashion brand was quite the industry contrast. I went from participating in all aspects of the company to a single department. I was placed in the technical design department with male fleece as my category. In the ten minutes before I met my team and was told my category I was initially disappointed as I was so passionate about women’s wear. This disappointment faded within a few hours--it was my team’s busy season, and I was immediately immersed in the category. Some of my responsibilities were to measure garments’ specifics and ensuring they were within the range of tolerance, as well as searching for any garment flaws. I would also sit in on meetings and fittings taking notes and learning.
The learning curve was immense and although I was exhausted every day, I soon got the hang of the department. I was contacting vendors from overseas on programs like PLM, drawing technical and diagrams of garments, and composing Tech Packs for access of the vendor and cross functional teams in the same category. I would present garments and help in fit session with cross functional departments.
From day one I was assigned a mentor to teach me everything there is to know about the department. She went above and beyond to teach me anything and everything I wanted to know. I was even taught how the job was done years ago with different machines which in return helped me understand the evolution of present programs and processes.
Although I was only an intern for eight weeks, on my last day I was given a two year contract and asked to return after graduation. Going through 4th year with a full time 2 year contract under my belt was the most reassuring thing I could ask for.
Both of my internships taught me so much, I was able to apply everything I was learning at Ryerson to my daily tasks. If I had learned a task in school prior, I was able to successfully conduct it at my internship. If I had learned a specific task at my internship that was then desired at school, my insight would boost my grades. I am grateful that I completed an internship in a small company first;I was able to retrieve an understanding of how a small company operates. Abercrombie & Fitch is a magnified version of business. Its size allowed for multiple departments and cross functional departments. I learned so many valuable lessons from both internships, not only the specifics of the position but also how to operate in a professional environment and work with others.
Tips I would give to future interns:
- Rejection is okay: Being rejected is a natural part of any industry, it is important to not take it too harshly. It takes dedication and determination to succeed, and with perseverance you will always succeed.
- Never be afraid to ask questions: Learning is a process and any employer knows that. There is no such thing as a stupid question, people are always willing to help and ensure you are doing things correctly.
- Do not be discouraged if you make a mistake: I have made too many mistakes to count. They are all learning experiences! Making a mistake, although it may seem like the end of the world, it is not!
- Always try to step beyond and strive to accomplish more.