Retail & Fashion Workers Demand Fair Internships

(We just received this. It does seem to be more and more of an issue these days -especially with such high unemployment among young people just starting out. Does the industry take unfair advantage of those who want to get their foot in the door of fashion by using unpaid workers?. – Ernest Schmatolla

For Immediate Release:
Press Contact: Sasha Hamaad or 646.469.6507

WHAT: Reclaiming Fashion Week as Interns’ Night Out, fashion workers who are members of the Retail Action Project (RAP) will conduct a video projection highlighting the fashion industry’s overreliance on unpaid interns during Fashion Week, distributing information on intern rights.

WHERE: Lincoln Center, NW corner of Broadway and 65th Street in front of Alice Tully Cafe.

WHEN: Monday, February 13th, at 6pm

WHY: Many young fashionistas are becoming career interns—with fewer opportunities for professional advancement, they go from one unpaid fashion internship to the next, supporting themselves on retail jobs. Meanwhile, many stylists and make-up artists are seeing their colleagues displaced by interns. D uring Fashion Week, fashion workers are competing with unpaid interns to dress models and do other work that was once paid.

WHO: Stylists, make-up artists, and other fashion workers.



Ernest Schmatolla is publisher of Lookonline since 1994. It is the longest running fashion site on the Internet.

  1. It should be illegal for these interns to work for free. In other industry's, such as in the financial sector, interns are paid – not a lot – but at least it's not slavery. I see too many fashion companies using interns in place of paid assistants, and it's unjust. And what about people who can't afford to work for free? They lose out on the real jobs because they couldn't afford an "internship".

    In France, it's totally illegal to have slave labor and interns are paid a small amount. I think about 750 Euros a month.

  2. I think that the interns have every right in the world to be upset because they are certainly being exploited. But, it's all a sign of the times. It's the cost of doing business as it's come to be done, a situation created, largely, by our very selves.

    Between the cost of the models, the venues, the catering, the make-up, the hair, the parties, the ESSENTIAL ad pages in vogue and bazaar — I mean, not everyone can be a member of Anna's darling little Asian boy club or Marc Jacobs and then get everything for free. Some of us have to pay. I have ALWAYS thought the cost to be too high, really, in the end.

    All of this madness could be manageable and containable if everyone weren't just so damned afraid; if everyone just had the courage to NOT CONFORM. I'm all for playing ball with the regime when you must but I also believe in doing battle when it's necessary. More and more we're moving to that point.

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