BY: ULYLISA MALDONADO AND THOMAS ROJAS
Homework, tests, extra curricular activities, poorly timed sicknesses: students already have an overflowing plate of things to do. There’s no way they could possibly fit in one more thing, but they’ll have to if they want to graduate.
For students of the Fashion Merchandising and Design program here on campus, their senior year of college involves the required FMD 492E internship course. Within this course, students must attain field experience in a professional role and setting at a fashion company.
Although stressful, many students come to find that the course pays off. According to an article in The Washington Post, companies are seeking to hire graduates with internships under their belts, and those with internship experience have a higher percentage of receiving job offers compared to students who never interned in college.
We asked Sauncia Amos, a student currently enrolled in the FMD 492E course, about her first-hand experience interning within the fashion industry.
First, can you tell us what your internship specifically is? What company/who do you style for? Where is it located?
I am the intern for plus size stylist, Reah Norman. She is based in Los Angeles and is the creator of Styled by Reah, as well as the Executive Fashion Director for PLUS Model Magazine. I have been interning with Reah Norman for the past year and have been blessed to really learn so much from her.
From my time interning with Reah I have had the opportunity to shadow and assist her on photo shoots, meetings with clients, and shows. Throughout these jobs she has given me many tasks doing everything from running errands, fitting the models, to setting up and organizing the clothes for the shoots.
How did you find out about this opportunity?
I met Reah through my job about a year ago. She was doing a photoshoot/video for my job on tips of how to dress for the season. The company wanted an actual associate to be the “model” in the video so my manager asked me if I wanted to. When I was later introduced to Reah Norman at the fitting where we were able to talk a little about how she started in the business and what my plans were, for being a future plus size stylist as well.
I told her how I am a Fashion Merchandising student at CSULB, as well as a member of the Students in Fashion club on campus and I would love the opportunity to intern for her. I asked if she was looking for interns, and eventually we exchanged information.
What has been your favorite aspect of your internship thus far?
My favorite part of interning has been the opportunity to learn from Reah. She has so many tools and skills from the business that she has gained throughout the years, so having the chance to soak that up has been amazing. I have been able to take part in so many new experiences. I have met so many wonderful people throughout my time working with Reah that it makes me excited to be able to start my career.
What do you hope to gain from this internship?
From this internship I have already learned so much and I am hoping to continue to build and network with people so that I can get the opportunity to work for a great company after I graduate.
How do you feel the internship requirement course benefits students? Is there anything you'd change about the course?
The internship requirement course is a huge benefit for us students. It helps us to take a risk and put ourselves out into the industry that we all love! The best aspect about it for me, is that it is at the end of all the courses, allowing us to use all we have learned throughout the years, in hopes of getting what we all came to college for: a good paying job.
What insight can you provide us about internships in the fashion industry?
It is important as students that we take advantage of what internships have to offer. I have heard so many talk about only what the internships can do for them, but it is so essential that we don’t devalue what we can bring to a company as well. Not only is an internship a chance for the company to see if they like us, but it is also a chance for us to decide if we see ourselves thriving at their company as well.
I have had internships that I have been grateful for because they allowed me to note what I do and do not see myself doing with the rest of my life. They pushed me to continue to try different internships, until I found one that really spoke to me and the career that I want to build for myself.
What future do students involved with a stylist internship have?
I feel that the future is endless for a student with a stylist internship. There are so many careers that are available, like working freelance and doing something more spotlight with celebrity styling or even working more behind the scenes by doing visuals for a company. It’s all about what you have a passion for and how hard you’re willing to work to achieve it.
Did you always see yourself involved with the fashion industry?
The day I discovered that fashion merchandising was an actual major in college was life changing for me. I always knew that fashion was the one thing that brought me the most joy. I fell in love with how fashion allows people to express themselves. It’s so awesome to me that with one outfit a person can see themselves in a whole new light and gain a sense of confidence or attitude that may have never been there before.
I have always loved the thought of being a part of someone else experiencing that feeling for themselves, which is why I want to be a stylist.
Any last words of advice for fellow students?
The time in college flies by, so make sure to soak up as much as possible by getting involved in your major. Join the students in fashion club, go to the events and start networking now with your fellow students and teachers because you never know when you may run into them again!