Where was your first internship?
Michael Kors. I met my supervisor at some launch party. I was the first production intern in that department, ever.
The production position is the middleman between having a vision for design and executing the idea. It's taking care of fabric selection and pricing of the fabrics, working with the mills that actually create the garments, making sure the garments are fitting as the designers envision it to fit and basically getting it right to be sold on the store shelves. A lot of my tasks and responsibilities were to do color swatching, making sure that it's a quality thing, making sure the same color tone is present across the collection. So that this particular green looks like that particular green, whether it's a knit, whether it's a cotton, whether it's a silk, it has to match.
We worked with fit models, a lot of Excel spreadsheets, documentation and data. It was a more analytical internship and a lot of archiving of previous seasons, and also digitizing archives, taking fabric swatches and lookbooks from seasons way before and getting them digitized, which was really interesting. Also, just being able to work with other departments. I spent half my time in menswear, half my time in women's wear. In menswear which was commercial, we had a bunch of samples because women's was collection.
What's the difference between a collection and a commercial line?
Collection is luxury so it's the line that you see on vogue.com, on the runway, but it's not sold in every Michael Kors store. It is the highest tier line. Commercial is a lower-priced target and it's sold across the board in all Michael Kors boutique shops and also in select department stores. Luxury will be a lower quantity and commercial is a high quantity.
You'll find that with commercial that you do work with a lot more samples that are in the office and with luxury, or we called it collection, you work with very specific, very finite number of samples so they come in. You fit them and you quality check them, make sure the embroidery looks right, and basically those are often sent to the red carpet. Those are the dresses that celebrities, that make it to vogue.com and all the press images in the magazines.
Yeah, how was working with the mills? What are the challenges there?
My boss would actually fly to Italy a lot to do bit sampling over there. She would come back and forth so that was a big part of her job. There was some manufacturing for the MMK commercial that was done in Asia.
We had embroidery and fur all in New York. One the most memorable moments was meeting the fur supplier that we have for all of Michael Kors. They've been using them for years and years. So charismatic, and they would tell me about what it’s like buying furs in the New York Garment District.
I think this internship, in particular, taught me a lot about how to see quality in a garment and what quality meant in terms of fabric, sewing and stitching.
I knew from the internship that it was a little bit too behind spreadsheets and I wanted something more social, more creative, more active.
How would you describe the company culture?
Company culture was fun. They were very welcoming as well and it all felt very close, very family-like because Michael would walk by.
The internship program was really great. They got different people from different departments to come in and talk to the interns like, "Okay, this is my job. This is what I do. This is my everyday... Here's a project I worked on."