Are internships essential in Fashion?

Today on Fashion Fix Daily we are discussing the necessity for Internships in the fashion Industry.

In the wake of lawsuits hitting major brands left right and centre, the fashion industry has been mulling over the ethics of unpaid internships.

To work in a high-level, or even low-level job within the mainstream fashion world with a well respected brand, having at least one internship under your belt is pretty much essential.

Any university with common sense will encourage their students to gain as much real life work experience as possible before graduating.

The dream of studying for 3 to 5 years, and then falling straight into the arms of a relevant employer, is sadly often just that, a dream.

A good internship can grant you unbelievable networking opportunities and a shining reference to take you forward. And in many cases give you credit toward your university degree too.

However, the very fact that most internships within fashion are completely unpaid, bar a select few that cover the expenses of living in London, New York, or another fashion hub, leaves the overwhelming majority at a disadvantage.

Unless you have the undying financial support of your parents, a condition pretty much exclusive to the upper-middle classes, internships can leave you bankrupt, digging deep into an already stretched student overdraft, or working 9-5 in the office only to work another 8 hour shift in a bar every day for up to a year just to make your rent.

A few years ago, an op-ed published on industry news site The Business of Fashion titled ‘Are Unpaid Internships Acceptable?’ explored the reactions to big lawsuits and class action cases against companies like The Row, Conde Nast and Alexander McQueen, raising the debate on who is at fault for this level of dissatisfaction.

The comments on the piece profiled real-life experience from interns, debating the paradox of accepting a knowingly unpaid internship and then complaining about it. The ethics of the actual treatment of interns while inside the company, and how long this traditional career path will continue before something snaps.

What do you think of unpaid iternships? Join in the discussion on Twitter - @FashionFixDaily.

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Cotton candy obsessed award winning fashion blogger. Loves eating cake at 11am. Hates the word beige.