Interning @ J.W. Anderson

For those of you who haven’t heard of J.W. Anderson yet, he is the one to watch out of London’s emerging designers. After winning the award for emerging ready-to-wear designer at the British Fashion Awards in November 2012 and being appointed designer at Versace’s diffusion line, Versus, he is certainly a global fashion player of the future. In January this year, he caused a media frenzy at his London Collections: Men AW13 show by dressing the male models in ruffle-hemmed skirts and bustiers! Yes, bustiers for boys!

Immediately after the debut of this controversial menswear collection, I began interning at J.W. Anderson for the lead up to the womenswear AW13 show in February 2013. This is without a doubt one of the best opportunities I have had so far on my fashion journey. I was shocked at how small the studio was and how little staff worked at the company, considering he was the ‘IT’ emerging designer of the moment. There were only two rooms, one where Jonathan worked on his designs with a few other members of staff whittling away on their computers and another teeny weeny room where the heads of pattern cutting and production worked amongst a revolving door of over ten interns at a time. It is safe to say that there were always more interns than staff. The influx of interns was colossal, we worked hard, my friends and family called it slave labour as I worked on my two days off uni and Saturday and Sunday from 9am until 12am, with only thirty minutes break for lunch and all over again a week later. Did I mention this internship like most in fashion was unpaid? We were frequently told “the collections wouldn’t exist without interns” and many of my friends actually had pieces named after them as it was their designs which made the final collection AW13 collection.

During the six week internship, I mainly worked in the pattern cutting studio even though I have virtually no skills in pattern cutting. I was more of an assistant to everything and everyone one, I am highly skilled when it comes to organisation. Although at times I was forced to come up with design ideas when word was passed from the design studio, “Jonathan needs collars for the show, everyone make sample collars now!” and I spent the majority of the time running (literally) from factory to factory trying to get the garments pieced together in time for the show.

My favourite part of the internship was obviously getting to work at the show! This was my first time at a fashion show and I worked backstage, setting up the looks to ensure sure they were perfectly pristine. We were then assigned a model each and had to keep tabs on them as they had their hair and make up done making sure we didn’t lose them (backstage at a fashion show is hectic to say the least). We had about 30 seconds to dress them with Jonathan shouting, “We need models now!!! Hurry!! Faster! Faster! Now! Now! Now!” As the show began some of the models were still in hair and make up so it was a mad crazy rush which added to the thrill of it. Within five minutes the show was over and everyone was cheering, hugging and crying congratulating Johnathon and the super stylist Benjamin Bruno, who Jonathan worked closely with, on all their hard work paying off.

My favourite looks from the show…

Click on this link to watch the show and you can see me in the background on the right at 1m 53s cheering away!

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