Posts Tagged 'Fashion'

A two month long trial shift: fashion fails again

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…we get this in the mail. Our correspondent included two tweets as screen shots, we are posting them because they asked us to. 

I have recently been unfairly dismissed from the owner of a design house because I told them they were being unrealistic with the volume of garments demanded to be produced per day… 

I started a ‘trial month’ that soon turned into a two month trial the day I started and later found that other graduates on trial had been there for three months or more.

I relocated because it was a requirement. I was told I had to work full time and was given no funding whatsoever. I was expected to pay for rent, bills, food and travel myself.

After the first few days it soon became apparent that there was only one full time paid member of staff. The rest were interns. I also met the owner of the company (for the first time) after 5 full days of work.

I was expected to work a minimum of 10 hours a day. We were never told what time to we would be allowed to leave in the evening until the last minute.

I was put on the production line immediately. With no training whatsoever I was making garments to be sold for profit.

Feeling concerned about the businesses set up (majority unpaid interns, looked like there were no job prospects despite being invited for a ‘trial period’) I broke down, told the design assistant that I had concerns. She asked the owner to speak to me. She saw that I had been crying… laughed at me and asked what was wrong. She then went on to say that she didn’t have time to see how everyone was feeling, she was always too busy. “I’m a cold heartless bitch, that’s just the way I am” As if I was just supposed to accept that and move on….

I decided to stick it out and hope things would get better…

 

They didn’t.

Last week, at the end of my third week working for the company I was asked to fill out a timetable that had been put on the wall for each intern. I explained that once I had made a certain style of dress I would know how many I could make in a day. Her response was “It’s not about how many you want to make in a day, it’s how many you HAVE to make. If you have 50 dresses to make in a day you have to make 50” I then explained that she was being unrealistic in her expectations and that it only made sense for me to put down as many as I could feasibly make in a day. She then went on to say “don’t argue with me I’ve been working in this industry for years” I started to walk away after saying that I couldn’t talk to her about this as she was being unreasonable. She then shouted at me “get your stuff together and leave, go home”

I was given no appreciation for the work I had completed. She didn’t care who I was, I was just a number. Free labour.

To add insult to injury she later put this on twitter…

Image

Seeing this was heart wrenching. I felt embarrassed and stupid. Having such a bad experience in an industry that I had previously felt so passionately about has almost put me off entirely. The worse thing is that evidently this happened before hence ‘another intern has been asked to leave’ yet most are too ashamed to tell anyone. I’m furious. Having met so many talented interns at this placement I am concerned that their hopes and dreams will be shattered too. 

At an unpaid internship at a designer label

I was…

>> forced to work over 8 hours a day – sometimes over 10 hours a day (they made me sign a contract in which I had to agree with this)

>> given no payment, no meals, no accommodation, no transport money

>> forced to be available to work on public holidays and week-ends

>> given hard physical, mindless or non-educational work(such as tidying-up)

>>  not given proper training

>> advised by the supervisor not  to ask any questions related to their work as it disturbs them and makes me too nosey

>> not (in the least) to expect a job offer

>> to treat my employer with great kindness and gratitude

>> not even thanked for my work after working at least 480 hours for a profit making company

>> sent on dozens of errands lasting almost all day – even when it was pouring with rain at 10 degrees – with two 20kg heavy suitcases to pull

>> given a letter of recommendation that did not mention the tasks that I HAVE done, but those that I have NOT done(the tasks that were not offered to me in the first place)

>> given a letter of recommendation that makes it look like I have refused to do tasks given to me(which is not the case, since they were just not given to me) and underlines knowledge that I lack, rather that my skills and capabilities

>> after spending hard labour and at least over £1200(money for accommodation, transport and food) on this 3 month internship, giving the company valuable material to make profit on, I was given nothing to help further my career

Generally at this company:

>> when sick, interns still come to work and take painkillers as not to attract attention

>> many interns keep quiet about bad treatment and many hours of no sleep as not to ruin their career

>> the interns have no one to legally support them when they are not even given a decent letter of recommendation

The small UK company is a high fashion label of the fashion industry that “employs” about 15 interns per year. Its owner has only one permanent employee.

This is not only about no wages, but about bad immoral treatment, modern day slavery. I was treated with no respect and it made me feel worthless, even though I know they have gained so much from the work I have done for them. Is this humane? Is this legal?

We need to put an end to this! Please monitor internships and set-up a representative that fights for or rights and black lists such companies!

Also graduates suffer – they don’t find any paid jobs because of all the free labour…

To whoever sent this email in – do get in touch (as anonymously as you like) as we’d like to help you out

Beyond Parody: Interning in the Fashion World

In our second interview with an ex-Intern, Interns Anonymous caught up with someone who had a behind the scenes look at the fashion world.  She found that working at a glamorous magazine actually wasn’t that glamorous.

Interns Anonymous: Tell me about your internship. What kind of magazine was it?

*****:  I worked for a fashion magazine. I was in the beauty department, working alongside the beauty editor and her assistant. It was unpaid…

Interns Anonymous: Did it live up to the stereotype of the fashion world?

*****:  Emphatically yes. But in different ways. It’s not as glamorous as you would think. But the people are almost like a parody of themselves. I don’t think they are very well paid, but I think they have very wealthy parents.

Continue reading ‘Beyond Parody: Interning in the Fashion World’


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