Intern Mingles with Best and Brightest in Fashion


By Claire Wei

     Rachel Zoe famously said, “Fashion is my art. It’s what wakes me up in the morning and puts me to bed at night.” My friends dub me as the go-to person for any fashion advice. I’ve had many experiences in the fashion industry, but nothing tops this summer when I lived in New York City. Not only was I a temporary New Yorker, but I was also an intern at Marie Claire magazine, which amounts to double reward points since fashion and the Big Apple go hand in hand. Despite impossible last-minute demands, I worked with renowned people in the industry, observing how their opinions influence what the masses wear.


     The first half of my internship primarily involved secretarial work. In between my copy jobs, I went on intern pickups and errands to get pieces from a designer’s showroom for upcoming photo shoots. On those pickups, I’ve met several designers and stepped into some of the grandest designer showrooms, like Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, and Diane von Furstenberg. Seeing Nina Garcia get so involved with editing was fascinating, since she was considered the Simon Cowell of Project Runway, yet she has the powers to easily persuade others. I even worked with her to help match accessories with outfits, and I memorized jewelry designers and their pieces so sample returns would go more smoothly.



     After August, I really dove into the world of a fashion magazine. I created storyboards, which are pictures of potential clothes and accessories tacked onto a cork board and labeled according to a trend or theme. My boss also invited my creativity when I suggested an artist as an inspiration for one of the trend stories. During New York Fashion Week, she gave me her invitation for Nicole Miller’s show. This was the first time I had ever gone to Fashion Week, and to put it into perspective, it’s like meeting Oprah Winfrey: incredibly rare and unbelievably shocking (P.S: I have also met her. See me for more details). Nicole Miller’s show proved more than just a simple collection showcase; it proved that I deserved to mingle with fashion’s top people in the same room.

My biggest accomplishment was working for an Oscar de la Renta photo shoot. Given only less than twelve hours to order ten pairs of rare Keds kids’ shoes online, I had to get crafty. Though it’s against my contract to give out any further details, I can safely say that my creative results will be featured in the upcoming issue of Marie Claire.


     Despite popular belief that applicants have to cut off their limbs on top of knowing people in the industry, I landed this job just by googling “fashion internships”. The first day was unbelievably boring, except for my first Devil Wears Prada encounter. Let’s just skip the details and say that it ended with an editor yelling at me about incorrectly filing shoes on the back wall. From then on, I learned that lessons are 80% self-taught.


     Overall, my internship was definitely worth the 12-hour unpaid shifts and sprinting all over the city in four inchers. I met notable fashion gurus, like the time Nina Garcia introduced me to Tim Gunn from “Project Runway”. I learned the entire magazine process and everything that goes in to compile one issue. I even worked with publicists for Paris Fashion Week, securing rare invitations by negotiating in their native tongue. Marie Claire taught me to hone my styling skills and improve my personal style. Despite people’s opinions that fashion is frilly and worthless, I realized how difficult success in the industry is achieved. To be Anna Wintour, sheer ingenuity does not cut it; brutal competition and subtle deceit are also necessary to be successful. Fashion is certainly craftier than nuclear physics. Now with Marie Claire under my belt, I’m ready to go back to the Big Apple next summer to get more chances of a lifetime.


Alex Cabot has edited this article