The real experience of a fashion internship.

I had Kate join me in the studio for a 4-week placement over the summer.  Kate is a fashion student from Ayr who is currently studying at Herriot Watts Scottish Borders Campus about to start her final year of the undergraduate course (the same uni as me!).  

I have had the pleasure of interviewing her to find out what she learned throughout the experience and to hear if it lived up to her expectations, read on below...

How did you find out about KerrieALDO and why did you want to do an internship here?

I followed you on Instagram… I’m not sure exactly when I found you but I try to follow as many smaller brands as I can.  When I was looking for a brand to intern with I thought that going for one I already knew and loved would be a good way to go.

"Everything looks just as good on 
the inside as the outside"

You didn’t know that we both studied at Heriot-Watt previous to starting your placement in the studio, do you think this was helpful coming into it?

I think it was probably helpful because it meant that we had both learned to do things in the same way, especially having both had the same head technician. It also meant you had a rough idea of what I would be able to do, I mean Heriot-Watt is pretty unique in the amount of technical work we do, so I think having that experience on that side of fashion was probably useful for us both.

What kind of things did you learn or do in the studio that you wouldn’t have expected to?

One of the things I learnt was how to grade patterns to different sizes… I’ve never needed to know how to do this before because I only make one of each garment for coursework but that’s really useful for making garments in the future.  Learning more about the business side was useful too, understanding how the website is run. Both of which I don’t get taught at university but I think are vital for a future within the industry.

"I could have a closer relationship with you as 
a designer and learn more 
about your process"

Tracing and grading patterns.


Do you think you benefited from doing an internship in a small brand rather than a big design house in London?

I think going to a smaller brand means I had the chance to gain experience in all areas of the business. Going for a bigger brand probably would have meant I had a more specific role, whereas coming to KerrieALDO gave me the chance to do everything from patterns to sewing, to working on the blog and website. I think it also meant I could have a closer relationship with you as a designer and learn more about your process.

What were your first impressions?  Was it what you expected?

I was surprised at how familiar it felt coming into the studio, it was just like heading into the workshop at uni. I had been pretty nervous before coming, but you made me feel right at home.

Do you think the experience has prepared you for going into your final year at University?

I think to see the making process of KerrieALDO garments has completely changed how I think about the finishing of garments. Everything looks just as good on the inside as the outside, which I think will be a useful thing to consider when I’m making my final collection – I definitely picked up a couple of good finishing techniques I can use. I think it’s also been a bit of a confidence boost for me – you trusting me to sew some of your pieces made me feel like my sewing is better than I thought beforehand, which is a good mindset to be in heading into my fourth and final year.

How would you define your own personal style?

Comfortable but (hopefully) cool.

Cutting out a batch of our reversible bucket hats.
  
As a fashion designer yourself, how would you describe your own design ethos and aesthetic?

I think I’m still trying to find my style.  I’ve been really interested in working on projects to suit the needs of people that are more ignored within the industry – particularly a project I designed for someone with cerebral palsy. I think that’s something I’d like to develop further, making fashion accessible to everyone.  Aesthetically I’m very in on the sporty, athleisure look… Which I suppose comes from the clothes I like to wear myself.

(Check out Kate's Instagram to see more of her work - https://www.instagram.com/katefleming_design/ there is a video of this project here and it is pretty impressive)

What is your favourite KerrieALDO piece?

I suppose I’d have to say the tapestry pinafore dress because I have one and absolutely love it. I also really like the overshirt as a staple piece. (You can buy this dress here)

Kate wearing her favourite KerrieALDO piece, the 'Crazy' Tapestry A-line Pinafore Dress


What other fashion brands do you admire?

My favourite designer of all time is Iris Van Herpen. Thinking about slightly more wearable brands, I really like Rick Owens, Roksandra and Vetements. 

What are your favourite social media accounts to follow? And what is the best platform?

I’m all about Instagram. I love Diet Prada – they spot copycat designs and brands. I really appreciate Jacquemus’ Instagram, and I always head to WGSN’s Instagram page if I’m lacking some inspiration. Thumb zine’s also a good one for anyone interested in modern art.

Do you feel like building your own brand and business after graduating is something you would consider now that you have had a good insight into it?

I think this is the first time I’ve realized that it would actually be possible to do this myself.  It would be good to gain some experience working for someone else first, but I think I would be more likely to consider it now than I would have in the past.

Has the internship encouraged you to continue in this field or has it made you change your mind on what you’d like to do?

Absolutely. I’ve only ever worked in hospitality jobs until now, I never knew it was actually possible to enjoy going to work every day. There are even days that I really don’t want to go into uni, but doing this internship I wanted to come into the studio every day and was never looking at the clock to go home. It’s good to know that I actually enjoy the reality of what I’m doing for my degree.

"I think this is the first 
time I’ve realized that it 
would actually be possible 
to do this myself"

Would you recommend this to other fashion students and if so what advice would you give on finding the right placement for you?

I think it’s a great thing to do, especially over the summer between years. It’s the best way to get experience and have something relevant to put on your CV when your graduate. My main piece of advice would be to not be discouraged if it takes some time before you get something. Focus on brands that you relate to and like, and then just e-mail them, even if they aren’t advertising for any interns at the time. The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t get a reply or they say no – the best thing is that you can get an amazing opportunity doing something you enjoy like I did! And be willing to be flexible, both Kerrie and I took a bit of a risk with my internship, we hadn’t met before I moved all the way down to Leeds for a month but it worked out better than I could have imagined… take any opportunities that feel right for you.

(I very rarely look for internships - Kate got in touch out of the blue and this opportunity developed from there!)

QUICKFIRE ROUND...

Cats or Dogs?

Dogs

List 3 of words to describe yourself

Creative, sleepy, stubborn

What thing can you not live without?

My horse

Favourite band?

Arctic Monkeys

What’s your favourite thing in your wardrobe?

I’d probably have to say my bright yellow Lucy and Yak dungarees

What is one of the things you would put on your “bucket” list? 

Skydiving

What high street shop do you shop at the most?

Probably H&M

What fashion trend do you just not get? 

Sorry but I don’t think I’ll ever be into sequins

Favourite colour?

At the moment, yellow

Last item you purchased?

Probably some very unexciting skincare products

Most used emoji?


The lil crying laughing face

Kate and I celebrating the end of her placement (and also my birthday).


Thanks to Kate for taking the time to answer these questions to help us learn more about her experience at the KerrieALDO studio, I loved reading them and hope you did too.  


Kerrie.

PS Check out the video below that Kate filmed during her time at the studio to show a KerrieALDO coat in the making.