Everyone gets asked the big question at some point- what’s the dream? Whilst for many of us, putting a label on your dream may seem impossible and probably terrifying, some have achieved such things. Some, like Glasgow School of Art student Jane Maguire, who didn’t only label her dream, but labelled it with high fashion style and couture. Jane Maguire spent her summer in NEW YORK interning for the globally renown fashion super house that is Marchesa. I found out about her experiences with one of the biggest names in fashion and what she had to say about her bite at the Big Apple.
What were the ups and downs of your internship?
My overall New York internship experience was the most incredible experience I’ve had to date. I spent the entire summer in the city, working for such an inspirational fashion company and attending fashion week was basically a dream come true. I gained new design skills, learnt substantially in my studied subject as well as meeting some amazing people. Intern life can be hard, with long hours and challenging tasks but it was most definitely worth it!
Were you paid?
I was unpaid, but was given cool fabrics including embroidered silks, a dress, embellished accessorizes and I was always provided with fancy snacks and cupcakes!
What was New York like?
New York was amazing! It was my first time experience ever in the city and it made such a big impression on me! It has such an exciting atmosphere, the people are so vibrant and friendly. New York has some great places to explore, my personal favourites being Moma PS1, Gushonen and the Highline, great spots that are a must see if you ever visit the Big Apple!
The design studio I was working at was based in Manhattan so I enjoyed walking the Highline every morning to work. I lived in Williamsburg Brooklyn, a neighborhood known for its hipster hangouts and summer rooftop parties. It was nice to escape from the crazy buzz of Manhattan every evening. I lived in an artist loft, a great space with 2 other Americans working in the music and film industries. The loft had a rooftop that captured the Manhattan skyline!
How did you get involved/ hear about it?
I had always followed the brand Marchesa and have always longed for an internship with them. Their internship contact is on their website which I emailed with my C.V and portfolio, and things just sort of led from there.
What would an average day at Marchesa consist of?
My average day would involve getting up at 9am, taking the subway into Manhattan and walking to work for a 10am start. Once at work , I would be given different tasks , varying day to day on what I had to do. It usually involved embroidery design, drawing, painting accessories, draping, fabric manipulations, lace placements, dying fabrics and trims, and sourcing fabric sample from the New York garment district. I would usually finish at around 6.30pm.
What did you get up to in your free time?
The food in New York is amazing so I seemed to eat out all the time, as you can find some really cheap places with great cuisine! As well as this, in the evenings I would take a bike ride over the Williamsburg Bridge or go for run, as the long warm nights were great for keeping active. The weekends I had off, so I tended to get up to much more then. There are so many places to visit in New York, its crazy! I’m a museum lover so often I found myself taking time discovering cool galleries, making drawings and taking pictures- everything in New York provided me inspiration for my work! I explored Williamsburg a lot with their flea markets and bargain vintage shops, all along side a free outdoor public pool. This was a must , as the summers in New York can be unbearably hot, with the pool being a great spot for a cool down!
Would you recommend interning to others?
Interning is such an important thing to do, you learn so much about yourself and your interests. I met so many different types of people and contacts that have now become close friends. Marchesa was a great start and has influenced so much of my final year at The Glasgow School Of Art. The techniques I learned with Marchesa I’m now using in my final fashion graduate collection. I think travel and interning are a brilliant combination, as I found new places and landscapes as inspiration for my creative design process. I feel I got a really good work and life balance with my internship in New York, unlike my previous year’s internship I completed in London where it was extremely long hours and didn’t get to enjoy the city. Although unpaid at Marchesa, I feel the skills I learnt whilst there are invaluable to me in my career.
If you are interested in interning anywhere, I would advise to seek experience in a company or organization you’re truly enthused by. This stood by me in my experience because I absolutely adored everything I worked on every single day, which made it feel like I wasn’t working at all!
Interviewee: Jane Maguire
Words by Annabeth Wilson