Words by Samantha Larken
Fresh out of a Communications Degree, I was lost and had no idea where life would take me. All I knew was that I wanted to gain as much experience as possible and I was still eager to learn. If you know me, you would know that everything fashion has always been a huge part of my life and a passion of mine. I definitely have an addiction to online shopping and a wardrobe full of things I haven’t even worn! However, I had no idea leaving school, that I could have a future in the fashion industry, so when I found ‘The Fashion Institute’ it was a breath of fresh air. TFI instantly got me excited and I knew it was the place for me.
It started with my first careers interview with Bryce, the Communications and Careers Manager here at TFI, which honestly, I was for extremely nervous for. I really didn’t have to be though, the second I walked into TFI, I felt so welcomed and Bryce was so incredibly lovely and genuinely just wanted to help me figure out where I wanted to go with my career path. I went in with a massive list of things I thought I might have been interested in, like a little lost puppy, trying to decide what sort of internship would be best suited for me.
This is what lead us to Styling, where Bryce said that he had an internship which he thought I would really enjoy. Lucky for me there was an opportunity to work with the styling and wardrobe team on ‘The Voice Australia’, which instantly got me feeling a bunch of different emotions. I was so incredibly excited that this amazing opportunity was on the cards because I had never been offered anything like this before, but so incredibly nervous and scared at the same time.
I was so nervous for my interview with the team at ‘The Voice’. No matter how much research I did and how many practice questions I answered in front of the mirror, I still was absolutely terrified. The team, however, were so lovely and so welcoming, I felt instantly comfortable and excited about what was to come. My supervisor was lovely, and the team seemed very fun filled, easy going and a place where I felt I would fit in. Luckily, I got the position!
During my time at ‘The Voice’ I learnt a lot and it was a very valuable experience. From overseeing behind the scenes of the production, helping source outfits for contestants, organising dressing rooms, unboxing new stock, meeting contestants and overseeing styling sessions, I really enjoyed my time there!
It felt amazing working with some amazing brands and overseeing what styling sessions are really like, getting to see the mood boards for each contestant and how they piece together different outfits for each individual. The styling sessions were one of my favourite parts of my experience. It was so exciting to be able to watch the outfits come together on the contestants. Seeing what worked and what didn’t, as well as seeing the excitement in the contestants faces, as they get styled in outfits that have been pieced together just for them. Styling in television is not what I expected, the amount of hard work and months of time that is put into what they do is crazy. It’s also great to see different brands working together to help the team and offering them clothing to use for the show.
Through my communications degree, I majored in media production which consisted of television, film and radio production, I experienced what it was like to produce my own content. However, being on set of one of Australia’s biggest television shows was on a whole other level. I am so incredibly grateful for the experience that was offered by the team at ‘The Voice’ and TFI, as it’s helped me learn and grown in so many ways. This internship was my first experience and my first taste of what it would be like in the fashion industry and made me realise for the first time that I was going down the right path. I was so thankful for everything I learnt with the team and I am really looking forward to going back. The show premiers on the 24th of May, and after seeing all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, I can’t wait to watch the show!
Through my time at TFI I have been fortunate enough to meet some incredibly inspirational people that are very successful in the fashion industry. The number one question I find that they get asked is 'how they got into the fashion industry'. Most of the time I find that their number one tip is INTERNSHIPS and I can see why! The amount of hands on experience and knowledge you get from doing an internship is so valuable and gives you the opportunity to meet amazing people that you probably wouldn’t otherwise meet.
Go get it!...Get that dream internship!
Going into TFI I was full of self-doubt and never believed I could have the confidence to be interning, doing events, and getting that real-life experience that I am now. No matter how scared and nervous you may be, get that dream internship! And now I honestly can’t wait to continue with internships in the future and continue to learn and grow as an individual and as a young professional.
My Tips and Tricks
1. BE CONFIDENT
Being confident for me doesn’t always come easy. However, I think a little belief in yourself goes a long way. I always like to be bubbly and my happy self, to make a good first impression when going into internships, interviews and when meeting new people.
For me the best advice I’ve always be told is to make the most of every experience. Take that internship and intern as much as you can! Internships I’ve found, are an amazing insight into how the industry works, they give you an opportunity to network and meet new people and you learn so much.
3. SAY YES
Say yes to every opportunity no matter how big or small. For me in the short time I’ve been at TFI, I have tried to take on as many opportunities as I possibly could. I have worked at a bridal runway event, worked at a luxury car event, gone on excursions and attended numerous industry nights with some of the most influential people in the fashion industry. For me I always leave an event or industry night feeling so inspired and grateful for the amazing experience and definitely would recommend making the most out of these opportunities.
4. NETWORK, MAKE FRIENDS AND BE NICE
I have met so many amazing people in the fashion industry who have all been more than willing to help me where they could or answer any questions I’ve had. I always do my best to be nice to everyone and take on board everything they say, so we can learn and grow from one another. I have learnt so much from everyone around me, not only from industry leaders but from my teacher Maya, who has been amazing from the very start, and to all the beautiful friends I have made, which are now friends for life. I couldn’t be more grateful to be surrounded by so many incredible and inspiring people.
Overall, The Fashion Institute has been by far one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve had opportunities I never would have thought I could get, had some of the most amazing experiences, learnt and grown so much, made some lifelong friends and met some of the most influential people in the fashion industry. I honestly couldn’t recommend TFI enough and am so incredibly grateful for everything.