The Intern Diaries: Notes from the Fashion Underground is a column that goes straight to the source of the fashion industry -- the free labor. In this column, anonymous interns tell all about their unpredictable bosses, ridiculous tasks and what they learned at the end of the day. This week's intern is a 24-year-old female in London who is working as a shopping assistant for two British magazines.
DAY ONE, THURSDAY
7:30 A.M. The alarm goes off, and I jump up in shock. Just like every other weekday morning. You’d think that four months into my new role, I’d be used to hearing that sound, but it’s still just as hard to get out of bed.
9:00 Outfit on, breakfast eaten, hair and makeup complete. I am ready to go. Now, it's time to attempt the morning rush hour on the London tubes (oh joy).
9:30 Arrive at work and half of the staff is already there. They must have come in early. I sit down at my desk and say good morning while settling in. Start looking over my to-do list – and my, there is a lot to do.
9:45 Begin to go through the 50+ emails that have all arrived in my inbox since I left the office last night. Who would have thought so many people who have so much to say in such a short space of time? Press releases, invitations...
10:00 First meeting of the day. Discussion with the Acting Deputy Editor/Health Editor about my product page for the June issue. I previously submitted three theme suggestions, so now I find out which one we’ll go ahead with.
10:30 A PR from an agency is urgently calling back some samples from the fashion cupboard. I have to find them before they can be picked up.
11:15 Quick one-on-one chat with my shopping editor. I’m taking on one of her fashion pages for the next issue. This week is going to be crazy.
11:45 Research begins. For the fashion page, I have to search for catwalk looks and come up with wearable high street copies that’ll be available when the magazine is on the stands. For another page, I have to find five products within the theme, find a mother who’s willing to test these with her baby and PRs who are willing to participate.
2:00 P.M. No time for a lunch break today with this amount of work. Just enough time to run out of the office to get some air and head to Starbucks for a caffeine fix.
2:20 Come back inside and already there’s an extra ten emails to go through from PRs.
3:15 A whole load of samples have come in for the shopping editor’s cover shoot next week. Run down and pick it all up, organize it in the fashion cupboard (which is already filled with returns that need to be done) and go back to finish off my work by my desk.
3:45 Another quick meeting with shopping editor to discuss the new tasks I was assigned. So far so good, I’ve been able to track down a mother (thank God for Twitter) and start requesting the personal information I need from her.
4:15 Take a five minute break from staring at my computer screen by getting some much needed water.
4:20 Begin doing photo research for other pages. One is a "Get the Look" page where a stylish, pregnant celebrity image is selected and I find affordable copies. The other is based on the latest products celebrities have been seen using out-and-about.
5:10Just enough time to begin winding down, tidy up my desk, put last few things in the fashion cupboard and write my to-do list for tomorrow morning.
5:25 Shopping editor asks me to call in lots of sunglasses for her tomorrow for her fashion opener page, so I add this to my list.
5:30 Home time – couldn’t come quick enough.
DAY TWO, FRIDAY
7:00 A.M. Get up and head to the bathroom. TGIF. At least it’s a lot nicer in the mornings now the clocks have gone forward and it's April.
8:15 Switch on my laptop to check Twitter for any early news from the seven hours I’ve been asleep. (My job is no longer 9-5).
9:35 Another day, same routine. Enter the office, take off coat, set up computer, check to-do list.
9:45 Read old press releases from the past month for our page meeting which takes place in half an hour. There's enough time to check emails and print out anything relevant for the meeting that I can suggest for the page.
10:45 Head back to my desk to find another 20+ emails awaiting my reply. Fantastic.
11:00 Meeting with the acting editor for one of the magazines about the celebrity style page which features a star who is currently pregnant and stylish. Which ones are famous enough for readers to know?
11:15 Start researching catwalk looks that I can turn into wearable outfits from high street stores. This is going to take a while, so I start browsing online stores to spark some inspiration.
12:20 P.M. Last minute press show visit. I go with shopping editor to the French Connection office. As much as I welcome the break out of the office, I’m can't stop thinking over the list of things I’ve got to get cracking with as soon as I get back to my desk.
1:30 Get a nice goodie bag from the press show and pick up some lunch on my way back to the office. Another six emails…
1:50 Get confirmation from the mother that products have begun to arrive at her house. Perfect. I've done something right. Now I can tick these off my list. Shopping editor heads home for the afternoon, so it’s just me left to keep everything in our department running smoothly.
2:20 Another urgent sample call back. I get the PRs to email me an image, because I had no idea what they were talking about. Once found, I wrap them up, contact the PRs to let them know the items are ready and leave them downstairs in our courier room to be collected.
2:40 Start the "Celeb Spy" page. Start looking for clothes and accessories and begin putting half written copy together on my computer. Credits and style tips TK.
3:45 Check over my emails, quickly have a browse on Twitter to see if there’s any new gossip in the celeb world. Stock up on some more caffeine to get me through the last hour or so.
4:00 Go back and forth between the "Celeb Spy", product page and celeb style pages – calling in samples, printing off images, sending suggestions to editors, etc. It’s easier to concentrate over a broad range of things rather than just on one page. Or maybe that's just my ADD?
5:30 Home time at last. Write my to-do list for Monday morning, check through the last few unopened emails, lock up the fashion cupboard and head towards home.
DAY THREE, MONDAY
7:40 A.M. Wake up. It's Monday. The weekends seem to go so fast!
8:30 Eat some breakfast and check some personal emails I’ve received over the weekend, which I haven’t had a chance to reply to. Must try to get these done before I leave for work.
9:30 Arrive at the office, Lucozade bottle in hand ready to start a new week. Same morning routine – turn computer on, check emails and look over my lists.
10:00 Quick meeting with a PR downstairs – shopping editor can’t attend because she’s busy, so I attend on her behalf.
10:30 One bonus of PR meetings – you often walk away with a bag of free samples. I got lots of fun new makeup and skincare products that will be useful for my beauty page.
10:40 Editor comes over to have a meeting about the "Celeb Spy" page. I show her the images I have and take notes while getting feedback.
11:00 Back to searching for "New Mum" Look Book. It’s nice to come back to this with a bit of a fresh mind. Thankfully, lots of stores have now started bringing more Spring/Summer clothes in so there’s a lot more to choose from.
12:00 P.M. Take a break from the page and go back to finish off the celeb style page. Another page done. Check!
12:20 Now is as good a time as any to go get some fresh air, and I feel I’ve earned it. Treat myself to a nice lunch as a reward.
12:55 Come back to a ton of emails again, 40+ this time. Scan the important ones and move the press releases and invites into other folders to be looked at when I have a spare moment. Aka never.
1:10 Have a discussion with my shopping editor about the status of the pages I’m doing. Having little catch up meetings like this really helps when trying to stick to tight deadlines across two publications. It definitely takes some organization.
1:30 Carry on photo and product research. In the meantime, product samples are arriving and copy is being handed around to be checked after it’s been subbed and the art team has done the layout.
2:30 Go into the fashion cupboard to get a short break away from my computer. Start organizing returns again.
3:00 Meeting with an editor about a product page. Look at all the samples that have been coming in today. Once we’ve had a chat, we call over the art editor and acting editor to make final decisions.
3:30 Products confirmed. Take these all into our in-house studio to be shot, and come back to my desk to write up the copy for the editor.
4:10 Copy handed over, and I check over my emails. I find that the expert I tried to get in touch with has responded with a great comment. Perfect, my job just got a lot easier. Email the selected reader mother to see if the rest of the items have arrived. Also send her the prices of all products, a list of review questions for her to keep in mind when we discuss each product and ask for a telephone number and convenient time for me to call her mid-week, which is my deadline to write up this copy.
4:30 Samples have come in for several shoots taking place over the next week. Head down to the mail room to borrow a crate to bring the samples up to the fashion cupboard. Head back upstairs, start doing returns in the cupboard to clear some extra space and book a messenger to pick up our returns and drop them off at the PR office addresses.
5:15 Crate of new samples arrives upstairs. Great timing.
5:25 Lock up the cupboard and head back to my desk to write the next to-do list for the morning. Tidy up the clutter on my desk so I don’t walk in to mess tomorrow.
5:40 Time to head home. No matter how busy each day becomes, I always look forward to the next.
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