Thoughts on Unpaid Internships

12:13 AM

If you've been following the fashion industry for a while now you might have heard about some major changes not only in relation to the publishing sector but also in terms of designers stepping down from certain brands. The past few months have been crazy for the industry. Things just got crazier. Conde Nast, the multi million dollar publishing house most notably known for Vogue, W Magazine and the New Yorker has been sued by two former interns at W Magazine and The New Yorker for unpaid internships.

Unpaid internships are not a rare occurrence in the industry. The industry's taught me that internships are my tickets to securing a great career in fashion. Unpaid, paid, part time, full time,local, international whatever it may be will always be beneficial. I've recently secured an internship locally as a PR/Social Media intern-unpaid and I'm quite fine with that because I'm still very young and its not a major requirement for me to receive financial pay now and I'm just looking for some valuable experience to put on my resume to amp up my college application. For a 16 year old  like me ,an unpaid internship poses no problems.I'm financially dependent on my parents and have always been simply because work laws restrict me from getting a paying job. 

According to's research, New York has climbed from position 5 to being the second most expensive city in the world ousting predecessor London.New York is also the highest tax paying state and from personal experience from a visit to New York City, it ain't cheap. You best better be from a wealthy family or have a secure great paying job if you want to survive there.The  cost of a BBA or BFA degree at Parsons The New School for Design for 2013-2014 per term is $20,330 tuition per credit(12-19) is $1385, University Services Fee per term is $130 and Academic Supplies fee per box is $95. On top of this I'm sure there are other additional costs like residence, food spending's etc  to add to the financial pressure. By now you should have realized why this topic of unpaid internships is controversial

Yes, internships are about experience but would you continue to say that when you're a broke college student in Manhattan on an unpaid internship or getting payed below the minimum wage line? Purely based on finances you wouldn't. You would be left homeless and if you're an international student then you've also got a tonne of visas to deal with as well unless you have financial backup from friends or relatives. My tone until this point might have sounded biased. Let me put aside finances. Unpaid internships have their advantages too. 

- They take away the notion that whatever work you do, you have to get paid. It teaches the youth that not everything in life has to relate to money and the experience of a lifetime is what counts. Don’t get me mistaken. There’s the whole other topic of being overqualified and not getting paid enough or doing labor for an unhealthy amount of hours and not receiving any pay and these two things should not be acceptable in society.
- In terms of companies, they have one less paycheck to worry about. Everyone has financial problems whether it be small or big and frankly when someone shows up ready to work for your company free of charge, there’s no need of a pay discussion.But when you're making your interns work for long hours and not paying them or paying below the required wage, you need to get your priorities right. 

Looking at it from a start up company's point of view, its already tight with start up costs so its understandable that interns might not get payed and maybe as the company grows, they have every intention of paying but it raises eyebrows when it comes to multi million dollar brands and companies. If you can spend millions of dollars on marketing campaigns and pointless events you can spend a few dollars a month to pay your interns for all the hard work they're doing.Interns at the end of the day are what keep half of these companies running. Young fresh talent is essential to companies's successes today and ultimately its the company's loss.

You Might Also Like