9 questions to our intern Emily Richmond
Having an intern for the first time ever as a new, small business is pretty stressful; figuring out exactly what your own job is can be hard enough as it is, let alone figure out someone else’s. However, we got particularly lucky with Emily. We weren’t even thinking of hiring an intern when she reached out to us, but after meeting with her we were sold. For six months, Emily has helped us in all sorts of tasks, from sewing (a lot), to finding fabrics and designs. She was an amazing intern so we thought anyone who studies fashion, but also ourselves, could learn from her.
1 - What do you study?
BA Fashion Design at Birmingham City Uni.
2- This isn't your first internship; how did you find your internships / made sure you'd get the job?
I managed to find two through Instagram and one on indeed.com. It’s particularly difficult to find fashion internships that are outside of London, but there are loads of independent brands everywhere so I think Instagram is a great tool to use to find them - even if a brand isn’t advertising for interns, send them an email anyway - that’s how I got my placement at Gold.
I think the key to securing a placement is being really prepared for the interview, make sure you have researched the brand/company well and think about the kind of questions they’ll ask you and rehearse some answers.
If you take a sketchbook, make sure it’s the one you’re most proud of and shows all stages of a project, the same goes for any garments that you’ve made - make sure it’s your best work. For my interviews I also catered what I took from my portfolio to the type of brand I was interviewing at, you don’t have to take all your work, select what will be relevant.
3- Do you feel like you're learning more at university or on placement? Why?
I feel like I’ve definitely learnt more during this placement year than at uni to be honest. Due to my placements being varied I feel like I’ve improved my skills in a lot of different areas including pattern cutting, sewing and CAD skills on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I’ve also learnt a lot about the business of fashion and what goes into running your own independent brand, as well as what it’s like working in a design team for well known fast fashion brands which you just won’t learn/have a proper understanding of at university unless you get that experience in those environments.
4- What is the most valuable thing you've learned so far?
Time management - which might sound like something I should be fairly good at by now but it’s something that I still struggle with sometimes, like juggling a few things at once and especially leaving things until the last minute as I can be more motivated by the pressure and stress of close deadlines than having loads of time to do something. Things can take a lot longer to do than you expect them them to, which I only really learnt in my second year of uni and this placement year, but as I’m going into my final year at Uni time management is a definitely something I need to be really good at.
5- What advice would you give anyone who is thinking of doing the same course as you?
I would say choose to take a sandwich/placement year if it’s available or if not just try to gain as much work experience in your chosen field as you can as it’s really the most valuable thing that will help enable you to get post graduate jobs in the industry. Also you might think you’ll learn a lot on a fashion design course but you really end up teaching yourself a lot of things, tutors are not as helpful as they might have been in school/college so you really need to be proactive and teach yourself skills like CAD flat drawing/book print/embroidery/textile workshops at uni as you most likely won’t be taught/learn everything you need to know from tutors.
6- What career are you planning on pursuing after you finish your degree?
I would love to work as part of a design team for a womenswear brand before I decide to pursue anything on my own. However, if I get to do any kind of job that’s fashion related, creative and makes me happy then that’s all I really want.
7- How important is sustainability and ethics in fashion to you? Does it influence the way you shop?
It’s very important and has definitely changed the way I shop, I don’t shop at fast fashion brands as much as I used to because I can no longer walk into a high street shop and look at clothes without thinking, ‘who actually made this?’. I’m more aware because I make a lot of clothes myself so I find it hard not to think about how factories make clothes and how their workers are treated.
For my final year assignment I’m planning on basing it on ethical fashion as it’s a subject that I feel really strongly about.
Also I think as a fashion student I’m naturally interested in sustainable fashion as well and am always looking for brands that are more environmentally conscious - whether that’s recycling plastic into new fabrics or making zero waste garments.
At the moment, I’m trying to ‘buy less, wear more’ and spend more on quality pieces that will last.
8- Name your favourite place, favourite style icon and favourite wardrobe staple.
I love my hometown of Sheffield but my favourite place outside of good old Sheff would have to be Manchester or London.
My favourite wardrobe staple would have to be a pair of straight leg vintage wash high waisted jeans with ripped hems, I wear them to death and they go with everything.
9- And finally, what is your favourite piece out of the Gold summer collection?
I love the Paris jumpsuit! I love anything with an open back and the design is effortlessly cool.