My fashion internship by Paula Weber
Due to my rather eccentric style I often felt out of place when with friends or even walking down the street. At the tender age of thirteen I decided I no longer wanted to fit in with other children and instead rebelled by dressing in ridiculous costumes. I developed a passion for parading around in snake leather plateaus, oversized fur coats pared with several chandelier necklaces and vintage gold earrings. It was only normal for people stop dead in their tracks and even turn around to stare at me. At Fashion Week this was an expectancy.
Premiered since 2001, the ‘Bread and Butter’ and ‘Premium’ of Berlin Fashion Week are exhibitor’s shows exclusive and only for Buyers and Press agents. Since recent years, the B&B has been held at Tempelhof, an old out of use Airport built during the 1920’s. The opportunity for me to work at the most important Fashion event in Germany was purely down to my persistence and just a little luck. My internship, which included working at Fashion Week, was through a German Distributor ‘Deluxe Distribution’, possibly the most notorious in the country.
Although I had experience in Fashion before, such as working on video-shoots, styling etc, I had little
knowledge of what it was like to be surrounded by the whole industry in such an enclosed area. My mixed emotions of euphoria and apprehension heightened when seeing that I was the only intern in my company and therefore under pressure to perform especially well. To my surprise I was greeted by a crowd of smiles and cocktails, all of who had travelled from around the globe to be at BFW. I soon realised that my age difference and slight lack of experience was not at all an issue and in fact embraced by colleges, bloggers, journalists, buyers, suppliers, photographers, exhibitors and even celebrities.
Although at first my tasks were simple such as handing out gift bags or scanning potential customers, by the end of the week I was talking to a wide variety of people, introducing them to the collections, informing them about labels and building connections for the company. I was offered two jobs: one in Hong Kong and the other in Paris. By this stage I knew that I would never be able to work anywhere else than in the flamboyant world of fashion. Within just four days I had my picture taken for Glamour magazine (South Africa and America), London magazine (London), Style Sight blog (New York) and City Snap magazine (Japan). I was living the dream!
As the week progressed I was offered to work at Premium, the more high-class exhibitors show. Naturally I agreed and was positioned at the ‘United Nude’ stall (one of Lady Gaga’s favourites). Although at first I felt the environment was stiffer, once familiarized to the more high profile customer I enjoyed the international crowd of people I was able to meet and talk to.
Now being part of the fashion week society I was invited to the hippest parties on rooftops, boats in old factories and even in palaces. I met artists, journalists and as the highlight of my week: one of Lana Del Rey’s friends! With this, fashion week ended and for me a new door had been opened to a surreal world of perfection and beauty. When looking back I can hardly believe my luck at having been given this incredible
opportunity to meet the people and go to the places that I did.