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Intern Story #6: Baishali’s Fashion Design Internship @ Levi Strauss and Co.

The challenge of moving out of my comfort zone has always encouraged me. I’ve consistently been curious to explore new paths. Taking a year drop after high school, this is particularly what led me to my area of interest — Fashion Designing.

From childhood, my mother has been my inspiration in this creative field. She has always shown interest in arts and crafts. I eventually got fascinated with designing, where I thought of incorporating arts and crafts into the fabric to create something exciting and yet meaningful for the people. To come up with this idea, I had to move out of my town to a big city to know more — not only about designs but also about the culture of the big cities.

My internship with Levi Strauss and Co. was a 6-month Final Graduation Project done for the final semester.

On the very first day of my internship, I was introduced to denim. Levi’s denim has a beautiful history. I was assigned to work under the Menswear section, something I was interested in. Denim is a vast subject and I felt that the duration was comparatively less to understand denim in-depth. My mentor, however, was very inspiring and supportive and he always gave us the liberty to work not just as interns, but as full-time employees.

Truly, Levi’s denim collection is original and unique. In each design, they had a different story to tell and it started from the fabric itself. We had to learn to recognize which finish given to particular denim at one-go! The most fun part was to work with the denim bottoms, something that the brand is especially known for. The different shades of blue were amazing and I loved the indigo colors on my fingers while keeping them. Those colors fascinated me even more to know more about the textile and I started working on the ‘History of Denim’ for grad project.

Besides the project, conversations over coffee was a great way to get to know more people. People working in Levi’s sharing their beautiful experiences of working in the industry more for years has been helpful for us to work smoothly.

I have worked beyond the given office hours because of to know more about the denim and the brand. I was immersed in my work and loved every aspect of it. I had a great time working with the design and development team.

Learnings

  1. Meeting new people helps a lot. I have always kept my mind open for different people with different perspective. This helped me change in my regular design thinking habits.
  2. I have said ‘Yes’ to every opportunity came on my way. I believe no job is small. Even picking up denim from one place to another is also a great learning. If you look at the positive side, you actually can feel the denim fabric once made out of the factory. It is always important to understand the texture, properties, and the feel of the fabric for every fashion student.
  3. Understanding the mood and ambience of the Fashion Industry. Industry gives you a practical approach towards designing especially when you are designing for the mass market.
  4. Understanding market needs is a must before coming up with any design.
  5. Understanding professional work culture. Every fashion industry has a difference in their working patterns.
  6. I have said ‘Yes’ to new learning. Keeping the right attitude is healthy but we should know when where and how to use it precisely to work better with the people.
  7. The industry can be harsh on you. Be strong! Friendly with people is a good thing. You may grow contacts (which will help you out later) but it’s better if we don’t mix professional and personal life together.

Fashion is vast. It is not compulsory that every fashion student need to have experience in Industry. I chose the industry. You may choose to work under a great studio or designer. It depends on the area of interest you wish to work and channelize for better opportunities.

Baishali with her co-interns at Levi’s

My advice to aspiring interns:

  1. Be natural. Try not to be casual in a professional environment.
  2. If you are seriously into this field then always keep open to opportunities and take monthly advice from your mentors/faculties for guidance.
  3. Always try to explore new things whether in your design or in your life.
  4. Creativity is not an inborn talent, you are creative you can develop within yourself. There is a quote for everyone in every field ‘Practice makes a man perfect’ and I believe in that. Keep practicing whatever you do.

5. Technical skills are equally important (stitching techniques).

6. My mantra — ‘Sketch a day, keeps the dullness away’.

7. Be natural. Try not to be casual in a professional environment.

8. If you are seriously into this field then always keep open to opportunities and take monthly advice from your mentors/faculties for guidance.

9. Creativity is not an in-born talent, you are creative you can develop within yourself. There is a quote for everyone in every field ‘Practice makes a man perfect’ and I believe in that. Keep practicing whatever you do.

10. Technical skills are equally important (stitching techniques).

My mantra — ‘Sketch a day, keeps the dullness away’.

I rarely read books about fashion. But if you are interested then here are some:

  1. The Glory of Indian Handicrafts — Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay

This is one of my favorite books. If interested in textiles, art and crafts of India do refer this book. Textile students can refer this as well. They have covered all the 29 states of textiles, art and craft.

2. Fashion — From concept to consumer — Gini Frings

This book is also nice. This book has an entire story of how the fashion business works. A history of fashion is also mentioned. It is a good book for Fashion students.

Other than books, Fashion Illustration plays a major role in this field. We should keep on sketching anatomies for better and quick illustrations. If not illustrations, we should keep the practice of live sketching. A rough sketch of 5–10 minutes is a good practice.

If you think of fashion design, don’t worry! you will be doing best in your ways. Go with the flow. Struggles might come your way. It’s all part of your learning. Choosing the best design school is not the factor, the factor is the subject you choose. All the best for your future, upcoming aspirant designers! Best Wishes🤗.

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