Hometown: Long Meadow, MA
Minor: Music Industry
Company Worked At: Teen Vogue
Co-op Position: Fashion Market Intern
Department: Fashion Editorial Department
Co-op Cycle: Spring 2012 Semester (January–June)
Pay: Small stipend
Part Time/Full Time: Full Time
Previous Internships/Co-ops: None
“I literally ate, slept, and breathed Teen Vogue for six months,” Sydney Andrews, Northeastern University middler, explained as we sat near the windows of Argo Tea. She had just finished her six-month co-op at the teen fashion publication and was eager to speak about her experience. Even with no previous co-ops under her belt and very little knowledge of what went into each issue, Sydney was able to land a position that many girls would kill for: Fashion Market Intern. During our meeting, she told me about her various work responsibilities, how Vogue influenced her decision to attend Northeastern University, and her once-in-a-lifetime experience at New York Fashion Week. Read on for the full story!
Haute Fashion: How did you find this position?
Sydney: I actually found it on NEUCOOL. I just put it down as my top choice. My advisor sent my boss my resume, she called me for an interview, I went to New York for a day, and the rest is history.
HF: What was an average day? What were you responsible for?
S: There was no average day, everyday was so different. It depended on where we were within the issue and the time of year. My boss was in charge of calling in all the high-end runway looks that the stylists wanted. So, I compile them together, organize what designers we want, and then my boss would call them in. That would be the beginning of stories.
And then towards the end of the issue, one of the other things my boss does is credits. I found out all that information. I emailed the brands and would send them a photo of the item and I’d be like, “I need official name of the designer, price, where customers can find it…” It’s a typical form but it’s all about following up and getting all that information. It’s so detailed and meticulous.
Then there was everything in between. I handled the schedules for all the fashion editors during fashion week, which was absolutely insane. You have to figure out their schedules and there’s just so much. And after fashion week we make trend boards for all the different stories. We cut out little paper dolls of runways and then we turn them into these stories. We make the whole board of what we think that story should look like and then they have a big meeting and decide who is going to style this story, who is going to photograph that story, who should do this or that. And they figure all this out twice a year for the next six months.
My boss was also the denim editor and she was responsible for the entire denim market. After fashion week, when we made the trends for the fashion stories, me and my boss made denim trends and then they would hopefully translate into the “Denim Patrol” page. She gave me a lot of responsibility, which I think was the best part of it.
HF: And I’m sure being a co-op as opposed to a part time intern really helped.
S: Yeah, for sure. There were other interns who were there for maybe two months, two or three days a week and it just wasn’t the same; being there everyday made such a huge difference. Not even for my boss but for her bosses. I became the go-to person.
HF: What skills did you bring to the job?
S: I’m a really organized person and that benefited me tenfold. I can’t stress how much organization and being meticulous changed my life in this job. If I had been any other way, I would have been eaten alive. It was probably those two things because sometimes there is so much going on and it’s so easy to forget about something. I remember on my first day my boss said, “just write everything down, even if you don’t think it’s a big deal, just write it down.” Everything comes back around.
HF: What did take away from your Teen Vogue experience that you’ll bring to other co-op positions?
S: Prioritizing and asking about prioritizing. For the first two weeks my boss would be giving me all this work. I’d think, “I’m not sure… Should I do this in the order that I get it? Or…?” I’m the biggest fan of asking questions and so was my boss, which was great. As long as it’s not something you can figure out on your own. There is a fine line. Sometimes she’d be like “Did you do this?” and I’d say, “No… but I did this, this, and this…” but that comes with the beginning of every job. Eventually, I asked, “How would you prioritize?” because I wanted to do it in the right order.
And I think also, once you trust yourself more, it’s about making decisions for yourself when it comes down to the wire. My boss wasn’t always there; she often didn’t get in until noon because she was on appointments in the morning so people were asking me questions. Eventually, you have to decide this is how it’s going to be. You just need to trust yourself and make the decision so you can move on.
HF: How did you become interested in fashion, Teen Vogue, and Northeastern? Did you always plan to have a co-op in fashion?
S: I don’t know how or why I became interested in fashion. I started having this infatuation with clothing my sophomore year of high school but it was more about expensive clothing. Then after graduating high school, I took a year off and I was all about fashion; I thought it was so intriguing. I got a job at Ann Taylor and I worked there pretty much full-time for a year.
And then it came time for college and, I mean, the co-op program at Northeastern sounded cool but then I heard someone co-oped at Vogue and I was like, “Alright. I’ll go to Northeastern. I’ll do it.” But I liked the idea of working because I learn so much better in an actual work environment, that’s where I thrive versus the classroom. That part of Northeastern was appealing. And I thought, “I could work in fashion, someone worked at Vogue. That’s what I want.”
Then when I was looking at co-ops and Teen Vogue came up, I was like, “perfect!” It’s just kinda funny to be on the other side of it now. That’s why I wanted to come to Northeastern and I’ve done it. There is so much more to go but it’s cool to come full circle.
HF: How did this co-op/internship change your perception on the fashion and the industry?
S: It’s so much different than I thought it would be. The industry is so big but it’s so small. There are so many little things in it that you can do. Just at the magazine, there is an art department full of graphic designers, the floor above us is marketing and advertising, there is a copy chief and a research team that fact checks all of the work… And those people have nothing to do with fashion but they’re still there; they work for Teen Vogue. I guess that was really interesting. It is a really small community in terms of everyone works with the same brands so everyone knows the same people.
HF: Did you have any favorite memories from your co-op?
S: There was a skirt Teen Vogue had BB Dakota make for them. I went to four different fabric stores in the middle of the garment district and pulled fabric. I was supposed to get regular gold but one had a cool brocade pattern. And I thought it would be really good for the story so I just took a swatch and they ended up picking it! BB Dakota custom made that skirt for the magazine and then they put it in their line too. That was really cool. You would never know because BB Dakota just gets the credit. And everytime I see that I just think, “yes! I picked out that fabric!” You see things from the ground up for sure.
I also got to go on one shoot while I was there. That was amazing. That was one of the things I really wanted when I was first getting there. But I knew my chances because I casually asked in my interview if that was something that interns do. And my boss explained not really because most of the covers are shot in L.A. and then there are shoots in England or on location. But every once in awhile they do a shoot in New York. They needed extra help and I was excited to be there.
I got to go to a bunch of fashion week shows too. I went to Billy Reid, Custo Barcelona, Tracy Reese, Reem Acra… I also went on a few appointments. I went to an Old Navy appointment, T.J.Maxx and Marshalls… And we go and photograph all the clothes so that we have record of it. Fashion week was just kinda a bonus; it was hard to beat. When I was walking into the tents of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, I thought, “I don’t belong here… I’m a student on an internship. Why did they let me in here?”
HF: What advice do you have for people who want a similar internship to yours?
S: Be quiet and respectful and do the work that you need to do and that’s how you’ll get respect and get people to like you. These are busy people that you’re dealing with. You want to be the mouse in the corner that organizes everyone’s life and takes care of everyone. And then they start to depend on you.
Build up your resume, stay organized, and stay on top of every little detail because when you start remembering things that your boss has forgotten, that’s when they start relying on you. And it can be a lot of pressure. Just be that person who’s like, “I’ll do whatever you want.” Be flexible. Don’t go in with any expectations of what you think it’s going to be like in the fashion industry because it’s going to be different and you’re going to be disappointed. The only thing you can do is go into it and just be like, “I’m learning. This is temporary.”
What do you think of Sydney’s co-op at Teen Vogue? Tell us what you think in the comments!