Subject: The Big Debate - Paid or Unpaid

Touchy subject isn’t it? I have had many discussions on this topic and let me tell you it’s a conflicting one. I’ve had conversations with my parents (as you can imagine), my boss (not as awkward as you think) and of course my fellow team mates, interns. I’m not sure if my view of not totally disapproving of  unpaid internships if because I’ve got supportive parents who can help me financially, that I really want to be part of the industry and accept if that means working for free for a year so be it. (Gems right?) I honestly believe though that if you are lucky enough to be in a situation to afford to do an unpaid internship you shouldn’t dismiss the opportunity out of hand. I completely agree that a company should pay their interns 100% but it’s going to be a slow process, we need to keep fighting for it but perhaps it won’t happen in time for you! If you’re paying an intern £18,000 for a year internship it does tell you something about the company and their positive attitudes to their workforce. If it was legally enforced would companies stop offering internships to students, would they dry up? Vicious cycle right?

Now this isn’t true with every sector of fashion. I have friends who interned within merchandising; buying and garment technology and all were paid, and paid fairly well. Trust PR and Marketing for being so popular. I blame Devil Wears Prada really – making it seem all glamorous and therefore making it a VERY VERY popular job. False advertising or false perceptions? Maybe.

At the very least, every intern, no matter what area of fashion they are working in, should have their travel and lunch paid for each day. I was lucky with my companies they followed this to the letter.

Any views? Let’s chat/discuss/debate.

Kind regards,

The Intern

P.s Full credit goes to Anastasia at @call.me.nana for this awesome print

Hannah Rafter