Name: Dacy Knight
University: The American University of Paris (Bachelor’s degree from University of Pennsylvania)
Major: Master’s degree in Global Communications (Fashion Track)
Company/Position: Editorial Intern at Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) with a previous internship at Vogue Hommes
How did you find your internships?
For my summer internship at Vogue Hommes, a previous internship employer recommended me to a magazine contact in New York who in turn connected me to the editors in Paris. For my fall internship at Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), a friend and fellow AUP student I interned with during Paris FW had another contact. For both internships, I reached out to the contacts and was eventually offered internships. After receiving the offers, I had to take the next steps of registering these internships with my graduate school and confirming my hours per week and internship status of full or part-time to comply with the French law and academic procedures. Overall, networking is clearly a most successful method and provides the highest chances for applicants to receive offers to enter into the fashion communications industry.
Is this your first internship? If not, where have you interned before?
This is not my first internship. My first internship was actually also in Paris and I handled the communications and marketing for a fashion designer for ten weeks during the summer before I graduated from Penn. It was a small atelier so I ended up having a lot of responsibility and today, the designer now even uses the logo I designed.
Prior to my entering graduate school, I interned with casting director Barbara Pfister in New York. The experience was so incredible and I still continue to assist her in Milan at the Versace Men’s fashion shows each season. I will be going to Milan for the third time in January and I am extremely grateful for being given these amazing opportunities. At AUP, I also interned with Stella McCartney during fashion week.
What have you learned from your past internships?
Each of my internships has been in a different area of fashion and this has been essential to shaping my growth and knowledge in the industry. I’ve had exposure to fashion editorial, styling, public relations, and casting. I have experienced the fashion industry through the perspectives of magazine editors, newspaper columnists, and show organizers. No single company would have expanded my horizons in the industry as completely as have these several cutting-edge groups.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities at WWD?
There’s no typical day at WWD. I do everything from transcribing interviews, to researching and fact-checking for editors, to reporting on my own, depending on what’s needed that day or even that hour. I love the variety and in addition to keeping things exciting it has allowed me increased exposure to valuable and varied skill-sets.
How many days/ hours a week do you devote to your internship?
I intern an average of 15 hours a week. WWD is great in that each week we send in our schedule. My graduate course hours and other extracurricular responsibilities fit well with this flexible approach.
What is your favourite part of the internship?
Going out “into the field” and reporting has been my favorite. I’ve been lucky and was given a few rare opportunities to actually attend noteworthy events in Paris and cover them for WWD readers in articles published on the site. These experiences were incredible, both because of the first-hand experience in reporting but also because of the access to the exciting happenings of the fashion world. In writing the articles, I received excellent critique in fine-tuning my writing from experts in the field.
What is the relationship like with your supervisor? And what have you learned from him/her?
At WWD, I had great respect for the knowledge and style of my supervisors. They provided me with helpful guidance, and at the same time, allowed me sufficient free rein for me to expand and grow in many ways. I learned a number of techniques, styles, and approaches. As busy as things were in the office, my supervisor always took the time to explain each project to me to ensure its relevance to my education and future application. The editors and professional working environment really supported my development as an aspiring journalist.
What does it take to pursue a career in the fashion industry, more specifically as a fashion journalist?
I think that above all, the key is having and maintaining a positive attitude and never taking yourself too seriously. It’s a tough industry and even when performing at your best you’ll receive criticism. You need to be able to roll with the punches and never take things personally. Secondly, fashion is not just an industry but an entire culture, so it is indispensable to be immersed in the goings on of everything from the fashion itself to the world that surrounds it. Know who’s who in the industry and be aware of industry trends — and I don’t just mean what’s on the runway. You can do this by following blogs (I love New York Magazine’s “The Cut”) or sites like WWD. Religiously read, or at least peruse, the fashion and culture pages of the top news sites. In fashion journalism in particular this is imperative. The more knowledge you bring to your stories, the more scintillating they are for the reader. Industry knowledge is a must when interviewing. Finally, even before you secure an internship or start applying for jobs, get experience. In addition to running my own blog, I served as culture editor for a student magazine and I am Editor-in-Chief for a new student online publication. Never stop writing, and more importantly, never stop reading.
What does a day in the life of Dacy look like?
Every day looks different. On most I’m rushing around on Paris public transit from Left Bank to Right and back between graduate courses on campus, my internship on Rue Royale, and teacher assisting and babysitting. iCal and its event alarms have been indispensable. When I’m not rushed in the mornings I run in the Jardin du Luxembourg and free time during other parts of the day is usually spent reading and writing. I always carry my camera and journal on me in case I see something to snap for my blog or have a creative moment and need to jot something down. No matter how busy life gets I always try to spend an hour reading each evening. Since moving to Paris, I’ve thought it’s appropriate to become better acquainted with the novels of Hemingway and Fitzgerald.
What skills will you be able to bring from this internship into your future career?
Reporting and writing are the most crucial skillset I was able to develop at WWD, and essential to my future plans. These are yet in the raw form for me, so I keep working to establish a personal style that cultivates a connection with the audience. Exposure to the media industry climate and culture is fundamental before pursuing a career in journalism.
In order to succeed in this internship, you need to:
To succeed, one needs to start at WWD with a passion for journalism and openness to learning. Next, it’s good to have certain established writing credentials and a degree of confidence to take on responsibilities one may not have experience in yet. The range of activities is diverse, so flexibility is key. There is so much to experience and learn if one approaches projects with enthusiasm and confidence.
What are your future career-related aspirations/goals?
I aspire to be a journalist. My internship experiences were of tremendous help to me in my aspiration. I thus thank those individuals who helped make them possible.