Author Archives: Samantha

Intern Series: What is an Internship in Fashion Like?

Hi Everyone!

In my time at FIT, I have done four internships at fashion companies of all shapes and sizes. A question I often get asked is “what do you actually do?” This post is a bit about what my experience has been like interning in Production Management and Product Development.

Daily Tasks
There are usually some things you will do every day you come in, whether it is checking all the DHL shipments or filing paperwork. They seem insignificant but learning how to maintain simple office tasks is really helpful for when you have larger projects in addition to these small tasks. Busy work doesn’t disappear when you graduate!

“Organization”
I put this in quotes because organization can take all forms, whether it is cleaning out the sample closet or making a reference binder. I personally enjoy organization projects, as it gives you a chance to see a lot of documents, samples and information you might not otherwise have access to as a student.

Making the Most
When you are at an internship, you might have downtime. This is a good chance to ask around to other people if they need help! Sometimes someone who is not your direct supervisor might need help with a project, and you asking what you can do to help them might really improve their day!

Projects
Throughout the day you will get a variety of tasks, from small to large, projects you can complete in a day or that might take a few days to work. I’ve done all sorts of things, from logging all the cut tickets for a given season to making digital sketches of garments for a line sheet.

Special Fun!
This varies from company to company and program to program. During my summer internship at Guess? (read more about that here) they organized special events for us to go to
I’ve also gotten to go to holiday parties, received unused samples as gifts, and made great friends with the fellow interns.
You never know what little perks will brighten up your day! When you come into an internship with no expectations, you will always be surprised.

Every internship is really different, and I have learned so much from each.  No matter how simple or trivial a task may seem, there is always something to be learned from it.

Best,

Sam

Weekend Trip to Ishigaki, Japan!

Hi everyone!

This past weekend my friends and I took advantage of a sweet deal on flights to Ishigaki Japan from Hong Kong, and enjoyed every moment of it!  HK Express is the only international service that goes to this island in the far south of Japan, so it was definitely an exclusive experience.  We were also there during the off season, and it felt like we had the island all to ourselves!

Here are a few of the highlights from our trip:

I went with 3 of my FIT friends studying abroad in Hong Kong with me.  When we arrived, there was a massive downpour but the skies cleared up almost immediately.

Nakamura-ya, Ishigaki Japan

For lunch we went to a magical curry place.  The chef at one point went out to his garden and got celery to add to the sauce.  The set meal also came with chai tea for dessert.  Would definitely recommend!

Kondoi Beach, Taketomi Island

After lunch, we took a high speed ferry boat over to an adjacent island.  The ferry ride was a highlight of my trip- it was like an amusement park ride.  Once there, we took a bus to an island known for its star-shaped sand and cats.

Yonehara Beach Equipment Rental

Sunday was beach day!  We rented snorkel equipment and got to see lots of fish- my favorite were these tiny, electric blue fish.

Another fun activity was going to Yaima Mura, which is an outdoor museum similar to Jamestown in America.  There were some historic houses and replicas, with exhibits on how sugar cane was processed, traditional dress, and dance!  The best part was the spider monkeys, which you were able to feed with the provided treats.

Here are my friends dressed in the traditional dress, posing with a Shisa.  The shisas are all over Okinawa and Ishigaki, and are placed standing guard at entrances to ward away evil spirits. We saw them all over the island!

The last thing we got to do was glass bottom boat tours.  After snorkeling, it was great getting to see the fish and coral out further in the water.  Plus Kabira Bay, where we went, was stunning!

We had an absolute blast in Ishigaki, and it felt so special because there were so few foreigners there.  Everyone we met was incredibly nice and welcoming.  Unfortunately, very few people spoke English, but it was great practice for my Japanese minor at FIT!

Studying abroad is a trip in and of itself, but taking a weekend to explore somewhere new was so exciting.  I would definitely recommend it, especially if you get a great flight deal!

Sam

Intern Series: Getting an Internship in Fashion

Hey everyone!

During my time at FIT I have had the pleasure of interning for several great companies!  A lot of people coming to FIT have questions about how the whole process works, so I thought I would write some blog posts on how FIT can help you start your career while you are still in college.

When Should You Start Interning?
I would recommend completing at least one semester of college before applying. This gives you experience in your chosen major before you jump into a company. While internships are a learning experience, they are better for learning about industry and office applications of your education, not to learn the nuts and bolts of your field. FIT students start in their major-related classes from day one, which gives them a head start to learn as many of the basics before they begin interning!

Looking for an Internship
I have gotten internships all sorts of ways, from cold-calling companies by emailing a copy of my resume, to the FIT Career and Internship Database, to LinkedIn, to a referral from a friend. Keep an open mind, your first internship will likely be a smaller company and not a big brand name! This gives you the chance to refine your internship chops before growing into a bigger company. Also, smaller companies give you a wider range of tasks, which can help you decide what area your might like most.

The Application Process
When it comes time to apply, put your best foot forward! Fill out the application as wholly and truthfully as you can, and make sure to proofread everything. Use your school email, and make sure to check it frequently. If you get a message from a company, you want to reply as soon as possible!

The Waiting Game
When you apply, it’s likely you won’t hear anything back right away, or ever. Don’t take it personally! Companies get many many applications for each position, and they have to sift through everything. You might have a sparkling resume, but they might be looking for someone who is focused on a different area. I personally have applied for more internships than I can count, and only a few have panned out.

The Interview
Relax, and put your best foot forward by being on time, dressed appropriately, with a few questions ready to go. Sometimes all the questions you have will be answered during the interview, but if they ask if you have any, enquire about the interviewer- why do they like working for the company? What do they enjoy about their job? Interviews are just as much an analysis of you as a potential employee as it is a chance for you to assess whether or not this is a place where you are willing to spend 10-20 hours a week.

Afterwards
Send a quick thank you note (I usually just sent an email expressing gratitude that they took time out of their day to speak with me) and hang tight. The internship application process generally has a lot of waiting time. People are busy, and while it might seem like they forgot about you, they might also be speaking to other candidates as well or have a big deadline approaching. If it has been over three weeks, consider following up with a polite inquiry if they have chosen a candidate yet. Even if you do go through several rounds of interviews, there is no guarantee they will let you know if you did not get the internship. The important thing to remember that for every job interview you go on, you get better at being interviewed and more confident.

Overall, persistence in applying for internships, patience with the review and interview process, and peace with the results will get you far. Like I said, I didn’t apply for four internships and get all four. Along the way there were many many failed interviews and ignored applications. Never take it personally!

Best,

Sam

Why I Decided to Study Abroad

Hi everyone!
It’s a big decision to study abroad, so I decided to talk a little bit about how and why I made my choice.  Here are some of the things I considered before submitting my application and packing my bags!
Fantastic Educational Opportunity
Production Management is a global industry, and a lot of that traffic flows through Hong Kong.  Being in the classroom with peers who will possibly one day work at the factories I communicate with from New York is amazing.  Seeing things from Hong Kong’s point of view is giving me a chance to understand both sides of the manufacturing relationship better.
I Could Communicate
All of our classes are taught in English, and almost everyone here understands enough that we have no troubles.  Not being able to understand what is going on, or being able to read signs is really challenging.  There are times when confusion arises, but it has never caused more than a miscommunication or a silly mistake.  Definitely consider wether you will be able to understand and be understood wherever you decide to go.
I Knew Others Going
This is a big one for me- even though I love a good adventure and have gone places by myself in the past, spending a whole semester some place I knew no one was pretty daunting!  Thankfully a few of my friends were also applying, so we kept each other accountable during the application process.
I’m currently rooming with one of my friends from back home, which has helped keep homesickness away- any time we need to talk about NYC, we can!  I’m not sure if I would have considered going if I didn’t know others interested, but I think I would have loved the experience with or without bringing school friends.
I Find Asia Fascinating
The world is huge, and this is honestly my first time experiencing it.  Before now, the furthest I had traveled was Canada, and right at the boarder at that.  Having the chance to explore Asia, and see the sights was a big draw for me.  At FIT I take Japanese, and I look forwards to being able to travel to Japan while I am here!  Hong Kong has so much to do as well, a month and a half in we have barely scratched the surface.
I’m Okay with Being Away from Home
Something important to consider is if you can handle being so far away from family and home friends.  I had spent about three months away last summer, and enjoyed it for what it was, so I was confident I could handle being away for the four and a half months on exchange.  However, I know it won’t be easy the whole time.  I miss being able to easily communicate with home (the time difference adds a whole other level of separation!) but we have all been adapting and growing through it.  I definitely miss some American things too.
Those are some of the factors I took into consideration going abroad.  It is not a small decision, but it is one I am so glad I made.  I have grown so much here, and am having a lot of fun too!
Sam

What to Think About Before Studying Abroad in Hong Kong

I am over a month into my abroad program and I am having so much fun! Hong Kong is fantastic and there is always something to see or do.

Me, under one of the lantern-lined streets

Now that I have been here for a little bit, I have encountered some of the logistics involved with being here. What should you know before studying abroad in Hong Kong? I’ll cover some topics below!

Conversions
Get ready for the metric system! Hong Kong (like most of the world) uses meters kilos and Celsius. A quick trick: to get a ballpark number when converting C to Fahrenheit, double the number (for example 19c becomes 38) and add 30 (roughly 68 degrees Fahrenheit)!

Apply for Student MTR Card
The student MTR card is a huge saver, especially if you plan on exploring! The fare saves you 50% of the regular price, and the savings add up quickly as the MTR charges by how far you go, not a flat fare like the MTA does in New York City. Once you get your student ID from the school, you will be able to apply.

Figure Out Your Cash
Back home, I rarely use cash, however it is incredibly useful here! Most stores and food places do not take card, or if the do they take Octopus Card (the HK equivalent of a MetroCard, but much more useful), which has to be reloaded with cash. Make sure your bank has low fees for currency conversion, otherwise your money will quite literally be less valuable.

Transaction Free Cards
Make sure to do some research on a credit or debit card that does not have fees before you set off. 1-3% adds up, especially when you will be spending over four months in a country! Additionally, I would recommend researching what is commonly accepted where you are going. The card I use back home is basically useless here. I opened a new card specifically for my time abroad.

Get Ready for a Different Diet
Any time you travel, your eating habits and diet will change. Personally, I have noticed there aren’t many dishes that include cheese. Most dishes have a base of rice or noodles. In New York, I usually have a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, but I have yet to even see a bagel since I have arrived! I have switched to bread with peanut butter because that is what is available.

If you have any allergies, or are vegetarian/vegan, make sure to consider what food options you might have. While many people here speak English, guaranteeing a food is safe for you to eat might get lost in translation.

Language
Nearly everyone here speaks enough English that you will be able to communicate. However, it’s not a bad idea to get the Google Translate app. There is a function that allows you to scan text and translate within the app. This is great for signs around the dorms or for receipts, which tend to list out line items in Chinese!

These are the things that stood out to me the most so far, and if anything else arises I will be sure to update!

Best,
Sam