Co-op Diaries / Interviews

Co-op Diaries: Damien Hairston at Marie Claire

photo 2By Shanique Williams
Photos: Damien Hairston

Name: Damien Hairston
Hometown: Boston, Massachusetts
Major: English
Year: 2015
Company worked at: Marie Claire Magazine
Co-op Position: Fashion Market Director’s Intern
Department: Editorial

Pay: Unpaid

Part time/ Full time: Full-Time

Previous Internships/Co-0p: None

“Bumping into Mary Kate and Ashley, lugging three Chanel bags down Fifth Ave, sitting in the second row at NYFW, or even traveling from the West Side to the East Side to pick up an envelope.” For more fantastic experiences, read on for Damien’s time spent at Marie Claire Magazine!

Haute Fashion: What made you decide to work with Marie Claire Magazine?

Damien: I want to be in the fashion Industry. So, I said what’s a better way than to start off in editorial. My dream job would be to be an Editor at GQ Magazine.

HF: How did you find out about this position?

D: I searched up and down for it, My co-op adviser tried to send me to China, but I said there are better ways. I did a Boston Magazine interview; I didn’t get it. They told me about other websites I could go on, so I looked on Ed2010.com, Freefashioninternships.com, and I searched Google. Marie Claire was the first one to interview me.

HF: Were there any other websites that you used, so others would know what to go on?

D: If you’re looking for a fashion internship, you should go on Ed2010.com, Freefashioninternships.com and CreativeinternsNYC.com. Those are the top three. You can find a lot from freelance jobs, jobs for the real world, and internships.

Miley Cyrus Marie ClaireHF: Walk us through an average day at Marie Claire?

D: I went in around 9, ’cause the fashion closet opens at 9, the editors don’t get there until 9:30, 10am depending on marketing appointments. An average day depends on if we are getting ready for the cover shoot, inside stories, etc. Again, if we were working on a cover shoot, a regular day would be 9am-10pm. You come in, you put your stuff in a conference room, everybody would get together and say, “this is what we are doing today, and these are the appointments. By me being the Fashion Market Director’s intern, I dealt with her assistant side by side, so often we would send emails. I was on the computer all day sending emails with PRs, companies themselves, and different vendors from around the world. It was my job to get in contact with PRs, make sure they was going to send the stuff or messenger it, or if I had to pick it up, make sure it was ready on time. After that, it was my job to check it in, put in on the rack, and make sure the whole look is packed up for the next day for set.

HF: What was the biggest responsibility you ever had?

D: My biggest responsibility would have to be, being organized. You’re dealing with a socialite, you’re dealing with several big people in the industry, and you’re dealing with her assistant. It can be confusing sometimes, when you have a thousand emails and your email isn’t working, refreshing, or your not getting it, your responding back to Prada but Fendi sent you an email. Again, it’s all about organization. If you need look 4, 5, 3 for Louis Vuitton and 4, 5 only comes, it’s your fault. At the end of the day, it comes back on you. You have to be organized to know what’s coming in and what’s going out, because when you’re ready to send back, you can mix a Helmut Lang skirt with a Fendi blouse and sending it over to Fendi, if you don’t check it off in the log, Fendi can say they never received the skirt. Automatically someone at Fendi has been gifted with a Helmut Lang skirt, so it becomes my fault. Organization is the biggest responsibility everything else you just go with it as the days go on, as the weeks go on.

HF: What would you say was most favorite or least favorite thing about your co-op?

D: My favorite thing about the co-op was meeting people, NYFW, photo shoots, just to see how Marie Claire goes about creating their pages for the inside stories to the cover story; honestly I loved it all. My least favorite thing was some of the interns. It was so competitive. I don’t like that about the fashion industry–we’re all trying to live out our ambitions.

HF: You said you did NYFW. Did you get to help out or just watch the show?

D: I got to watch the show! I also went to presentations and market appointments. By the fashion marketer being such a socialite, she couldn’t attend all the shows. It was my job to go take pictures, take notes, what she missed, what’s the new trends like–colors, factors, prints and all that.

photo 2

HF: After working at Mary Claire, has your perception on the fashion industry changed?

D: It changed big time. Honestly I never thought I would be where I’m at today. The way they do the whole magazine is different to what we think. We often think this is a magazine and it has all these pages, but it really takes time and effort to put it together. Things like “50 Best,” from choosing a cover story, to what’s going to be on there, even choosing the outfit is so distinct of what that person is going to wear. The September issue when I first started, Miley Cyrus, she was on the cover, but she was on the cover for several reasons. She is young, she’s engaged, she is pop, she’s not little Hannah Montana no more: she is Miley Cyrus. It was interesting to see how they transformed her hair, what they put in the inside story about how she is getting married and how the ring was. You never really think about it when you are reading a magazine. Often times people read a magazine they are just looking though for the picture but, nobody realize how hard it is to put together a booklet. It is literally days and hours spent on meetings.

photo 4HF: Were you ever star stuck?

D: Not really. What does it do for you to run up to them and say, “OMG can I have your autograph?”–you’re probably going to lose it in a year or two.

HF: Did you ever ask advice from these people?

D: It’s not that type of party. You don’t just walk up to them; if they say “hi,” you say “hi.” It’s like if you’re on the street, you just don’t walk up to somebody; you smile, but you don’t walk up to them and ask for advice even if they are in the same field as you. If you’re an actor, you don’t walk up to Morgan Freeman and ask for advice.

HF: Would you recommend Marie Claire?

D: Of course, it’s been a one, since day one.

HF: Would you do another magazine internship or would you be a personal assistant to a brand?

D: I’m going to be an intern at GQ this summer, so I’m really excited about that. I wouldn’t mind being a personal assistant because that is how most people start off in the industry. They assist somebody whether it’s PR division, editorial, marketing, or art department.

HF: There is a perception of fashion magazines being like the infamous Devil Wears Prada. How does your experience compare?

D: I’ve got coffee, but after a while, I was told I told I was overqualified to get coffee for my own boss. That’s stuff that you have to go with. Devil Wears Prada, not really, but close enough. There were times when I had to go to her house to drop off bag of clothes for NYFW, there were times when I had to be at her house at 8 o’clock in the morning so she could be on her flight to Paris, there were times where I rushed to the airport. It’s all apart of the experience.

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What do you think of Damien’s co-op? Leave your opinions in the comments below!

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