my fashion internship at versace
 
This was my first proper internship (I loved the DVF one, but it was too short) and I would like to share my experience, because when you want to work in the fashion world you got no idea where to start.
At least, I hadn’t.
 

My Fashion Internship at Versace

 
The Medusa logo at the entrance
 

How did I get it?

 
At first, I wanted to find a fashion stylist internship, but obviously my experience was none, I didn’t graduate with any fashion degree and I didn’t know anybody (my degree is in communication). 
 
Bear in mind that if you desire to be in the fashion field in Italy, there is only one place to look at: fashionjobs.it, so that’s where I looked.
There’s plenty of jobs ads and they are serious. I got into lots of interviews, as with Diane Von Furstenberg (I’ve worked there), Diesel and companies that are behind low-cost brands as Pull&Bear, Zara and so on. Everything Milan-based.
 

My Versace Internship: Sales& Showroom Assistant

After 2 interviews (for others it was 3), at the end of May I finally got the job at Versace. 

Yes – if someone’s wondering –  I saw Donatella, her dog and other members of the family, quite a few times. And that was so surreal. Anyway, after a while, you  get used to it.


My internship was for 6 months, paid, full-time and in the centre of Milan (Via Manzoni). Working in one of the most re-known Italian fashion company… what every fashionista would dream of! 

Thus, I was a Sales & Showroom Assistant for Versace Collection with two other girls, all Italians.
 
 

What was it about? (pre sales campaign)

When we first arrived, the sales campaign was starting in a couples of days so, we hurried up with:
  • helping with look books photos, which means helping the Product Designers department with the models and the chosen outfits, now repeat x10 (2/3 days)
  • helping with taking technical photos of the collection. The picture you see on the Net-à-Porter site or on every online shop? with a white background? Nailed it, those ones! We used a mannequin for clothes and a photographic set for accessories. (2/3 days)
  • helping the Visual Merchandising Departments a.k.a people that decide how & where to put items in the showrooms, setting up Women and Men collections following colors rules and coat-shirt-pants-tee rule (more or less). 
After that, we had to classify the whole collection. Not to mention, checking out that everything was arrived from the warehouse, the missing pieces, the double pieces, broken ones and other general tasks.

 

Photos set
One or two days before the actual start of the campaign, we had to prepare a small runaway for sellers, sales managers and the retail staff. Once even for Donatella’s right-hand woman! Hence, it was our job to welcome models in for the runaway and to help the Products Department with dressing them up and with the behind-the-scenes preparation.
After this, there was the mood and inspirations guidelines of the collection with details regarding the fabrics and materials used.
 

Sales Campaign

The day after the runaway we met the sellers with whom we would have been working all campaign long. They all were absolutely fantastic and funny to work with. Basically, we started presenting the Spring/Summer pre-collection to clients approximately at the end of May and a few months later, it was time for the Spring/Summer Main Collection. Then between October and November we were ready for the new pre-collection, the Fall/Winter one.

During the proper sales collection (each one lasting between a month or two), we basically had 3 main jobs:
  • receptionist: welcoming clients, checking appointments, warning sales managers, head of the showroom and sellers of their arrival
  • helping sellers with customers orders and with the collection
  • helping models to get dressed and keeping the showroom ready and perfect
Days were really long and tiring but it was nice to see people from all other the world, interact with them and meanwhile being able to set up everything for the next day.  It was hilarious each day trying to guess where clients came from just from how they looked (yes, pretty stereotypical, I know, but physiognomy can actually help) or running around the showroom with a puppy that followed you in the fitting rooms (it happened!).

Showroom

What do you need to apply?

  • Be a hard worker, not only a “public relations” (as one of my colleague used to do all the time)
  • Don’t take everything too seriously + smile. It’s better do something right with 5 seconds more, then doing everything in a rush without thinking and ending up doing it bad.
  • Team working is essential, especially when sudden accidents happen (like a lack of models during rush hour where if I didn’t took charge of the situation and said we must collaborate all together, it would have been a disaster)
  • Living in the city because you’ll be working almost everyday. If not, you should always be available and you’d never know in advance when you’ll have a day off (this was definitely the most difficult part to me. I need to plan the week, and there I didn’t even know when I could have gone grocery shopping!). 
  • Languages weren’t really necessary, helpful yes, but I do think that the Italian fashion system is still very Italian and closed, especially for a big Italian brand. The whole Versace staff I was working with was Italian; I am such a huge fan of spoken English so I was a little bit disappointed (especially after working at DVF) but that was only me. You are required to know  English at least (you don’t need to know it perfectly, lots of big managers are at a B1 or lower level, and let’s not talk about pronunciation). French, German & Spanish can always be helpful but if you really wanna stand out, the language you should learn is Russian.
 

At the end

I learned a lot, and now I know a lot better how retail world works. I experienced the life inside a showroom and how collections are firstly imagined through a specific mood, using old patterns of the past to create a modern collection… it is fascinating.  I also learned a little bit of Russian (goodbyes and colors) and I discovered the “models machinery” with agencies, photoshoots and runaways. Moreover, a client once told me I have a Dutch accent. Weird. 

Unfortunately, after a while the job was suffocating for me: the same place indoor 6 –  sometimes 7! – days out of 7 from morning to evening. I needed some fresh air, a way out.  I simply couldn’t breathe there. So when they asked me to extend the internship I said no thank you. I knew it was no longer the right choice for me. 
I think I am starting to realize that saying no sometimes it is not that bad. 
But above all, it was absolutely a great experience.

 

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I really hope this could be of any help if someone wishes to work in Italy or in the fashion world. At least this could be a starting point. Also, if I’ve left you with any questions, feel free to ask me and I will be very happy to answer back. xx

 

 

my fashion internship at versace

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