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Unpaid Internships Gaining Momentum In The Fashion Industry

827 words - 4 pages

The fashion industry is a utopia, of silk and suede and, shoes and belts. It is a place where flowers smell of Chanel and Givenchy; and trees bear diamonds and rubies, where extravagant living is a reality; and thin women walk down the many streets with hot cups of espressos every fraction of a second. And this industry is not just the fourth largest in the world, but also the most loved! Millions have found livelihood here. Millions try everyday to find their place. And the options for them are many- designer, model, photographer, choreographer, stylist- the list is endless! But is it as simple as it looks? With the cut-throat competition in current times, it's very difficult to carve out ...view middle of the document...

Thus, the trend of unpaid internships.

The Fair Labor Standards Act states that an internship must meet certain criteria to go unpaid without violating the law. The internship must be similar to training which would be given in an educational environment and must benefit the student if it's unpaid. However, Vallentino Smith, a former intern at Donna Karan, claims that "he clocked in 16 hours a week without pay when he was an undergraduate student working for Donna Karan at its Manhattan headquarters. Smith alleges that he was told the internship would be a great learning experience, but instead all he did was get coffee and organize fashion closets." (As quoted in The Huffington Post, August 31, 2013)

To me, the very concept of unpaid internship is faulty. To survive in expensive cities like New York or Los Angeles and pay out of your own pocket for fooding, accommodation and transportation while you work forty hours a week for free is both unrealistic and impractical, unless, of course if you have the financial backing. But that means that fashion internships are just for the rich as a middle-class household definitely doesn't have the budget for it. So does this imply that only if you have the money, you get a good internship? A survey by NACE, as quoted in The Wall Street...

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