Monday, October 28, 2013

Condé Nast Kills Its Internship Program (and Fashion Enthusiasts Dreams)

Hi there! Thursday night, after school, I was scrolling through mu Bloglovin feed and my jaw literally dropped to my keyboard when I saw the headline "How Will Condé Nast Survive Without Interns?" Fashionista covered the story of how the HUGE magazine publishing company famous for publishing Vogue amongst other big-name magazines was to end its internship program in 2014. If you've been keeping up with your Twitter or blog feed, you've probably heard about it, too.

So I snooped around and learned that the alleged reason why they decided to shut the program down was due to lawsuits concerning how Condé Nast was underpaying its interns and they sued. The only action that they seemed to think was forceful enough to stop the situation from worsening was to shut it all down. Nice, eh?

Now you might be thinking, "What does a fourteen year old know about the fashion industry?" Well, you're right, I don't nearly as much as those who came before me, but I've read a LOT about it, so I feel semi-qualified to give my two cents on the matter. But then again, as Joe Bastianich, a food snob on MasterChef, said, "I read a lot about airplanes, but that doesn't mean I know how to fly one."

I've always wanted to do something in the fashion industry, but for years and years, up until the summer before eighth grade, I thought it was stupid and unrealistic and I most likely wouldn't make it. Thankfully, that summer changed everything and I spent it all (alone) reading and reading and reading about how I could get my foot in the door once I graduated high school and what I could do in high school to help me.

The one piece of advice that popped up in each of the articles and books I read was to intern. It was always, "Intern! Intern! Intern!" or "It's the best thing that'll ever happen to you!" or "It's the only way to make connections!" Basically variations of the exact same thing. Most of the time, they would suggest interning at TeenVogue, Vogue, or any famous magazine, really. Interns from those places would go on to talk about how amazing their experiences were and how they highly recommended it. It made me thirst for that same experience.

I always thought that maybe someday, if the opportunity came knocking (or if I went knocking on its door), I might be able to have that experience at one of Condé Nast's magazines. It seemed to be one of the only ways to get your foot in the door of the fashion industry, one of the only ways to get started. But now that Condé Nast has decided to kill of the one program that thousands have been eyeing for ages, I can't help but feel a little lost and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that day. Sure, there are other magazines out there, there are other opportunities, but now, everything has been turned upside down.

So what does this mean for fashion students aspiring to be a part of this amazing industry? Now, that everything has changed, what are they (and hopefully, someday, we) are supposed to do? That's the question. Or maybe you just think I'm being overdramatic.

If anything I think that Condé Nast should simply swallow their pride, reinstate the program, and pay their interns minimum wage to keep them around. They shouldn't use the interns' naive desperation for the internship to their advantage. Whatever experiences and lessons they'll learn about the industry through the internship is something money can't buy, but it certainly should not be worth being nearly broke and not being able to live in New York anymore due to underpayment. Shouldn't they maybe, just maybe, think of their interns' needs, too? I certainly think so. If anything, this really shows how the fashion world can truly change in a blink of an eye.

What do you make of all this? Is Condé Nast being annoying for shutting the program down or do you think it was well justified? What's going to change after all of this dies down and 2014 rolls around? Leave your comments down below!

Thank you so much for reading!
- J

Source: NY Times

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