Finding work experience or securing an internship at London Fashion Week can be highly competitive, but as with all major events, offering to volunteer your services can be a great way to put yourself into the right place to get noticed and gain that all-important experience for your professional portfolio.
As with the fashion itself, your starting point should be at the design stage …
Designs on designers
Start off by researching the designers involved. Your best resource for doing this is the London Fashion Week website as the designer section on there offers an overview of all of the designers who are participating. Clicking on each designer takes you through to a dedicated page for each one, with details about their collections and, importantly for your research purposes, additional website, social media and address information for the designers’ own companies.
To help your search, designers are listed alphabetically, but you could also search by designer name or filter by collection type. This is ideal if you have a specific area of fashion interest or expertise which you feel would make you a valuable addition to the team. It’s then a matter of making contact (psst … see below)!
Support the supporters
If approaching designers direct doesn’t feel right, particularly as the event looms large and the designers become extremely busy, then it’s also possible to approach those supporting the collection-to-catwalk process. These might include freelance fashion stylists, photographers, hair and makeup stylists, many of whom work with agencies and wider support networks within the fashion industry, including some of the designers themselves.
Researching this can involve a bit of an information trawl, so start with those designer profiles on the London Fashion Week website as some of these indicate which agencies represent the designers. With a little additional cross-checking on the agency information and preferred contact methods, it shouldn’t take too long to develop a short-list of supporters to contact
Network the network
In addition to any agencies, it’s also worth researching, contacting and offering your services to the PR firms representing the designers. Checking out the British Fashion Council website may also offer a few possible contacts relating to both the event and the fashion industry, to add to your network.
Once you’ve finished your research, the next step towards securing an opportunity for work experience at London Fashion Week is ensuring the contact you make is dressed for success, making an impression which sells your skills, services and self as the right person, whatever the role!
So, whoever you end up sending your enquiries to, whether direct to designers or to PR firms looking for creative volunteers, make sure:
– Your email explicitly links the skills you have with what they’re looking for.
– You include any relevant portfolio images which demonstrate your skills and experience.
– Your contact is concise and relevant: limiting what you include not only saves them time at the sifting stage but also demonstrates your careful attention to detail – and that you respect that in this fast-paced industry time is important, both vital skills for fashion week success!
And whilst we’re mentioning attention to detail, do also double-check emails for misspellings and errors, so that your levels of professionalism and ability to attend to the smallest details are not in doubt.
London Fashion Week really is all about making an impression, so if you’re fortunate enough to secure a role, make the most of the experience by networking as much as possible. Follow designers and brands on social media in the run-up then follow up with contacts both during and after the event.
Across the event itself, over-deliver on what you’re there to do and keep on chatting – to designers, to those who support them (PR teams, PAs, agencies) and to other industry professionals – making yourself memorable in positive ways. This way, when you offer your services in exchange for further work experience or apply for an internship, your application stands a better chance of rising towards the top of the pile, rather than sinking to the bottom.
Finally, if you feel you don’t have enough of the right experience to start your behind-the-catwalk career for this September, start following the event and designers on social media and consider taking an event management training which includes work experience.
With our Diploma and Postgraduate courses being achievable within 6 months, you could complete a qualification in plenty of time to become both confident and indispensable by the time London Fashion Week comes around again.