Top Skills for Fashion Interns

Essencial Skills Needed to Work As an Intern in the Fashion Industry

Young woman fashion designer working in home studio
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The fashion industry is a very competitive field, and to become successful, you must have the talent, creativity, skills, and ability needed to do the job.

Your Intern Role With Required Skills in Fashion

In an internship in the fashion industry, your role can vary greatly depending on the aspect of the business in which you're working. Some options include fashion retail, fashion design, sales or editorial work.

Your day-to-day responsibilities can include merchandising, sales, sewing, sketching, promotion, advertising or event planning. Interns are encouraged to have a passion for and skills in fashion to succeed, as the days are often long and the hours grueling. If you don't love what you do, you're likely to burn out quickly. 

Finding an internship in fashion is a great way to learn the ropes and find out what it's really like working in the industry. You may decide that you have the skills in fashion work to succeed in a fashion career.

Top Resume Skills for Fashion Design Interns

When listing your skills, list some of your skills in fashion that pertain directly to the work you'll do in fashion. For example. you'll need to have strong drawing skills in order to sketch out and present design ideas. Other skills are less specific to your fashion job but apply to any type of job you'll do, such as persistence and good listening. Both of these skill categories are important to employers.

Design-Specific Skills in Fashion

Describe the skills that you've learned through your education, experience, and training that apply to the type of work you think you'll be doing as an intern, such as the following:

Highly Creative and Artistic

Even if you are not in the design portion of the industry, creativity and an eye for what is visually appealing is important in every aspect of the business. Your creativity and sense of style can influence even written materials and promotional ads. Your skills in fashion should include these.

  • Creative ideas about design and fashion
  • Strong sense of style
  • Superior writing and descriptive skills
  • Ability to translate ideas into words

Strong Drawing Skills

Interns need preliminary fashion skills, including the ability to sketch ideas, from potential garments to room layouts of a runway show. While being a true artist isn't necessary, you should be comfortable sketching out your thoughts to help explain your ideas. 

  • Ability to translate ideas into sketches that illustrate potential garments and accessories
  • Translate ideas into useful sketches that illustrate room layouts for a runway show

Good Eye for Detail

In fashion, the details are everything. That's true of both the clothes and the business. You will often have to juggle multiple projects at once that require your constant attention, making sure nothing falls through the cracks. 

  • Attention to and an eye for detail
  • Project management skills to balance multiple projects
  • Interact with all factors and people that have an impact on a project or task

Understanding of Texture, Color, and Quality Fabric

Whether you're a designer or a public relations specialist, fashion interns should understand the basics of fabric quality, textures, and complementary colors to talk and write intelligently about the products. 

  • Understand the basics of fabric quality
  • Understand and appreciate texture in the various types of fabric
  • Know complementary colors as well as how to match colors in intriguing and different ways
  • Be able to talk professionally and knowledgeably with customers and fashion coworkers

Strong Visualization Skills

When dealing with garments and fashion events, you have to be able to visualize what the finished product will look like so you can plan accordingly. 

  • Able to dress mannequins
  • Select and coordinate outfits, colors, and accessories for display
  • Maintain retail displays for attraction and cleanliness
  • Able to drape fabric, pin fabric, and trim fabric

General Job Skills for a Fashion Intern

The following skills are very important to employers, and they matter regardless of which field you're working in. You can also mention some of these skills, along with an example of when you've used them in the past, during an interview.

While you won't necessarily be expected to have competence in all of these areas, these also give you an idea about the skills you need to develop to grow in your career

Excellent Communication and Interpersonal Skills

Your interpersonal communication skills are essential. As an intern, you'll be dealing with people at different levels in the company, as well as outside designers and vendors. 

  • Able to build rapport with customers
  • Able to build rapport with coworkers
  • Respecting the diversity of customers
  • Selecting and helping customers select outfits and accessories that enhance their appearance
  • Able to communicate tactfully when an outfit is not quite right for a customer
  • Knowledgeable about the clothing and accessories being sold
  • Respect the confidentiality of customers and coworkers

A Good Sense of the Business

It's important to have an understanding of current trends so you can pinpoint what will be the next big thing. Understanding that fashion is a business and not just about creating beautiful clothes is important for your success. 

  • Represents the company respectfully and professionally
  • Have an eye for current fashion trends to spot potential sales winners
  • Able to operate organizational and computer systems to input data
  • Deal with inventory management and ordering
  • Knowledgeable about social media marketing including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Understands the concepts of generating revenue and making a profit
  • Can do bookkeeping and understands payroll and financial matters

A Competitive Spirit

The fashion industry is competitive, often with many interns competing for just one position at the end. You need to be able to handle the pressure while remaining gracious and professional. 

  • Able to handle competition and pressure with grace and dignity
  • Work well with other fashion interns who may also be striving for the same goal
  • Understand the competitiveness of the fashion industry, in general, and thrive in this environment
  • Able to handle the pressure leading up to major fashion events and rise to the tough challenges.

Ability to Work Well With a Team

One of the key fashion skills you'll need is the ability to collaborate with others effectively. You'll be part of an extensive team that works very closely together on major projects and in meetings. 

  • Able to effectively collaborate with the other players in a team environment
  • Problem solve and generate solutions rather than finger-pointing and blaming
  • Believing that diverse ideas and points of view add value to projects
  • Valuing diversity in your team members

Knowledge and Interest in Current Fashion Trends

While you don't need to be a slave to the recent trends yourself, you should be aware of what's going in the fashion world to have the right perspective when coming up with ideas. 

  • Knowledgeable and enthusiastic about current fashion trends
  • Knowing when a fashion trend is not right for a customer
  • Seeking new fashion and product knowledge to serve as an expert for the customers
  • Constantly looking for the latest and greatest to stay competitive in the fashion industry

The Bottom Line

The fashion industry is very competitive. So make sure to include core skills in your resume like excellent communication and other interpersonal skills. Don't forget to highlight your knowledge of current fashion trends in your cover letter. And use examples to demonstrate how you applied this knowledge and your skills to succeed in prior work during an interview.