Kara in a Zana Bayne harness necklace and Alexander McQueen Boots
As the new school year approaches, so does the time, not only for book learning and exams, but also for the real world experiences only internships can provide. This summer I had the opportunity to interview my friend and fellow blogger, Kara about her time interning abroad. She offered some great advice for any intern that I hope you’ll find helpful and interesting!
Kara M., 21, has come down from a high most college fashion design students only dream of reaching.
The college senior is preparing to return to school after studying abroad in London where she completed a three-month internship in the Alexander McQueen women’s wear studio. “I worked for the manager there, which was a good experience in seeing how the company works,” Kara said.
She had the opportunity to work at the venerable fashion house, founded in the early 90s by the late Lee Alexander McQueen and now helmed by Sarah Burton, during the period of speculation over who would design the royal wedding dress. “The thing was, we didn’t know in the studio what was going on because they kept it very secret till afterwards,” Kara said about that time. Kara finds the amount of recognition the brand has received since then astounding. “There’s more demand for McQueen now than there ever was. People who never knew the brand before now all of a sudden are like ‘oh McQueen, they did the dress.’ So it’s really crazy. It was amazing,” she continued.
Though the life of a fashion intern may seem glamorous at times, it’s hard work and an essential experience for anyone looking for a career in the industry. After the initial portfolio review and interview secured the job, Kara knew that a solid work ethic and a go-getter attitude would lead her to success. “When I was there I just did everything they asked me to do with a smile,” she said. “If one of the head designers needed someone to help sew samples I’m going to go do that and if someone needs me to go to Oxford street and buy 12 zippers, I’ll do that too. Anything I could do I would do very nicely, if you need me I’ll be there. Just try to be reliable. Showing up and doing your job, being on time is all really important,” she said.
The dark-haired musicphile also took in all London had to offer. “There’s a lot of culture there; there’s a lot of different people. You can never be bored,” she said. “There’s so many beautiful old buildings everywhere and I kind of got attached to certain neighborhoods. I went to the area around Brick Lane. It’s like the East side of London. Really great vibes, lots of graffiti art. It’s a really cool little area,” she mused.
Kara took a great deal of inspiration from her environment that she hopes to apply to her menswear collections, a facet of the industry she studied while abroad. “My professor Lou Dalton is a menswear designer and she was just absolutely amazing. She understood my aesthetic and she just kept pushing me and she taught me a lot of techniques,” she said.
The aspiring designer is passionate about the career she is pursuing. “There’s something about menswear that I just really have an affinity for.” She designs for men who are “more on the gothy, punky side, or you know kind of interested in art, things like that, kind of with a darker theme.”
No matter what the new school year brings, Kara is appreciative of her internship abroad. “In the end you still get that sense of excitement and knowing you worked for McQueen,” she said.
For more information on Kara’s travels and designs visit her blog, X-Ray Style.
This interview was conducted before the riots broke out in London. My thoughs and prayers are with England during this difficult time.