This blog was written by Hillary Griffin, our Campus Ambassador from Suffolk University.
This morning was calm and quiet here at ELLE, so I took advantage and sat down with my internship coordinator Alison, a fashion assistant, to discuss some common questions about working at a fashion magazine! Dressed in purple python heels, jeans, and a denim top, layered over a white lace blouse, she definitely looks the part. Bright-eyed and bubbly, Alison embodies the poise of a editor in training. Rightfully so, because as a fashion assistant, she wears several hats to ensure all is calm and organized in the department. It’s a balancing act, but Ms.Girschick does it with diligence and a smile.
-You were an intern at ELLE before you started working for the magazine. What’s the most valuable lesson you learned? (that stuck with you)
I have learned MANY valuable lessons – I learn them every day. The most valuable one, however, is a lesson I learned from my internship supervisor. She always told me, “No is not an answer”. In order to be a good editor, you need to get the best for the magazine. If something is not available, find a way to make it available so that you are not compromising the value of the editorial content. If you need something in order to do your job properly and somebody tells you, “No”, find a way to get it anyway. This lesson has taken me very far. This goes hand in hand with something my father always told me – to be persistent. I am only where I am today because I was persistent, and “No” was never an answer.
-What is a common misconception about working/interning at a fashion magazine?
I think many people see working in fashion as an easy way out, or a walk in the park, however it is exactly the opposite. It’s a lot of work. It requires management skills, attention to detail, the ability to multitask, and intuition. It is extremely fast-paced, difficult to keep up with, and exhausting. It is not for the light-hearted or the weak – it takes really smart, strong people to run such an industry.
-What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is coming to work every day and being surrounded by such talent and power. The editors I work under are extremely influential and brilliant, and I aspire to work my way up to their levels one day.
-What do you look for when hiring incoming interns?
The very first thing I look for is a resume. It is very important that you bring your resume to an interview – there have been times that I did not hire someone just because she did not bring her resume to her interview. Aside from that, I look for people with some closet or editorial experience, as well as people with great attention to detail, organizational skills, and confidence.
-Describe a typical day for you.
No day is typical! My day really depends on whether or not we have shoots going on. But on my most typical day I get to the office between 8:30 and 9:15, greet my interns around 9, and discuss the day. We go over what shoots are going on, and what to expect for the day or remainder of the week. We will unpack trunks that came back from a photo shoot, and begin returning the looks that we sent. We will also check samples in that come into the office for future shoots. Finally, we will pack for whatever photo shoot we may have the next day. The whole time, I must be answering emails at my desk, so there is a lot of multi-tasking.
-Any tips/advice you have for people who want to work in fashion/ELLE
Definitely intern as much as you can. School comes first, but interning is really the best way to prepare for a career in fashion and also the best way to make the connections imperative to succeed in such an exclusive industry.
Also, SHINE in any internship you have. You want to stand out. You should act like you WANT to be there (because if you don’t, you should be somewhere that excites you!).