splint: hey Alice. Thank you for meeting us on this very hungover Sunday… tell us about you.
Alice: I’m studying Fashion Journalism at CSM and am currently on my placement year, so I am interning… I actually just came back from interning at Visionaire in New York.
splint: wow, that’s so exciting!!
Alice: yeah, it was super fun. I interned in London when I came back in January at The Sunday Times Style Magazine then I did some interning at NME, which was fun but really different as it’s obviously music. I liked writing about music and having a more popular culture focus. Now I’m at GQ Magazine for a month, so yeah that’s me at the moment.
splint: amazing! How on earth do you find all of these internships?! How many have you actually done?
Alice: I have done literally so many!! I have known I wanted to work in the fashion industry for ages, so when I was 14 / 15 I wanted to intern somewhere. I think I just emailed Marie Claire or something. From that, I got a two week internship and then I worked with one of the Fashion East designers, Helen Lawrence. She used to be with Fashion East several seasons ago and I helped her work on her collection. At first I thought I wanted to be a designer or more creative; I am more into art and making stuff. Then I found out i was pretty excited about writing as well. These internships that I am doing at the moment are literally from emailing people. CSM university give us access to Fashion Monitor–– it’s like a massive address book of all of the contacts. I am known to be so eager with my emails…
splint: so, you lived in NYC? What did you do there and how long did you spend living there?
Alice: I really wanted to work at Visionaire. Visionaire are amazing, they’re so creative and they cover so many different things. A lot of people haven’t heard of them, but they are quite big in the US. They host exhibitions, installations and they make a product / magazine annually that’s a best representation of all of the collaborating artists that they get involved. They make loads of incredible things. I emailed someone and they got back to me and said ‘do you want to come?’ So I started sorting my visa, arranging travel and then I was like fuck…I have nowhere to live. I went on Facebook and found this thing called Gypsy Housing where people list rooms in NYC. I found this amazing situation in Brooklyn: it was a little apartment, with two girls who went to New School. It was so great, I worked in Midtown Manhattan.
splint: living the gossip girl dream, ha. So, I am guessing you have experienced first hand how difficult it is to find paid internships / experiences like this? We are kind of split on our opinions about unpaid work, because you know, as much as we should always be paid for our time and work, I do think in certain situations you wouldn’t even have these introductory opportunities if they were paid?! If that makes sense… like how do you feel about it?
Alice: yes, ugh I hate it. I am so fed up with it. No one in fashion pays, literally no one. You sometimes can be paid in production, but I don’t want to do something that I know don’t want to do. After GQ, I am probably going to just get work in a cafe as my CV is now full enough to be able to apply for jobs with a lot of experience behind me. I will probably just work in a normal job alongside my ongoing internship with Phonica records…which actually is also unpaid, but I see that differently in my head, it’s only like two days a week. I do have a problem with not being paid for my work though. Have you seen this instagram account called ‘@fashionassistants’? It’s basically this thing which outs companies anonymously: they post things that people send in. It’s all these crazy stories in fashion, it shows what fashion internships are truly like.
splint: it’s tough, because being in the creative industry, often gaining experience is a leading way to get you into actually being in paid work in your chosen field in the future?
Alice: yeah I think it’s cool when you enjoy it. It’s good if it’s something you want to be doing. I just don’t like it when big companies can afford to pay you but they don’t. It is actually illegal in Paris not to pay people for their work.
splint: yeah, internships in Paris, the way forward. So, my first splint interview was with Lucie, the other half of ‘bbychain’, how is it going for you? Are you enjoying it?
Alice: so we both worked on Delores Daywear and are really good mates. We call each other ‘bby’ and then we were basically like let’s do something together…we love overworking ourselves and we both know what we like in terms of style and stuff, so we just decided to start an accessories brand. It’s now harboured quite a few followers and there are a few collaborations in the pipeline. We’re going to push it a bit more in the coming months, so it’s working out really well. We are basically selling products that we love.
splint: that’s lovely. We really loved your 12 women strong shoot that you did, and with one guy as well, but he’s a nice addition to the team.
Alice: yeah, he was great, Kieran is aan amazing photographer. The shoot was so empowering and it kind of became a message that we didn’t even know we wanted, we wanted to create like a strong feel of unity
splint: so are your main interests like fashion and music?
Alice: yeah definitely. Music is like such a huge passion of mine now. I feel like there are unlimited possibilities with music…I bought a keyboard the other day, I can play the piano but now I want to mess about with production software. I love being busy!!
splint: it’s interesting that you say that, I have heard such bad things about NME….
Alice: it’s super male orientated. Music journalism is going through this big shift and kind of sinking. NME’s writing used to be so incredible; they were a trusted opinion. It was a really male dominated environment, but I worked with this wicked girl called Hannah and she made me feel really at home. I have been reading a lot about the activism that recently started in Hollywood: like the #TIMESUP and #METOO movements. I think it is so great to see this kind of movement within industry––fashion has so far to come with that still. It’s always a slow burner. With music too, there are some really great female artists and when it comes to something like the Grammys they are so unrepresented. I read something the other day…there’s a huge confrontation at the moment regarding festivals as they are all starting to bring out their lineups and there is literally only a handful of female headliners. I read this thing which basically said that by 2022 45 festivals could vouch to make their representation 50/50…why are we waiting 4 years for this?! And 4 more line ups!?
splint: yeah, it’s like oh great, thank you for making this movement in 4 years time… do you think that your degree will be more beneficial to you when you go into work than your experience?
Alice: a lot of companies don’t even need you to have a degree nowadays. I think having the work experience is really important––you have been in the rough of it, whereas university is a lot more on paper. It’s good for me to have a degree, but I think it’s all relative to the person you are and what you want. Saying that though, without my degree I wouldn’t have been able to do half the internships I have done, I really owe that to Saint Martins. Journalism is also something that really needs to be learnt and mastered… there’s so much ‘content’ nowadays that isn’t weighted with facts or research.
splint: do you think that London offers more opportunities for women than Norwich does? Or do you think it’s pretty equal.
Alice: I think Norwich is super exciting. There’s a lot of cool independent things happening…I like the music events and the culture of Norwich. I spent my teenage years in Hideout and all those Prince of Wales sweat boxes haha. Now it just feels like there is a lot happening for Norwich. London is just a lot more spread out. There are a lot more opportunities I think, but it is just harder to get into and harder to find exactly what you want.
splint: Thank you Alice, you are a dream. Good luck with your placement year babes, see you soon.