Glistening path of opportunity

By Zara Kenton, creator of Designer District.

Zara Kenton, creator of Designer District, has kindly blogged for us. It’s an interesting account of the struggle some interns face to make headway in the fashion industry. It is worth pointing out none of the internships she completed were found through Inspiring Interns, but they serve as a good warning for people looking to get into this highly competitive industry that there are some companies who act unscrupulously when hiring interns.

I have done approximately 9 internships since leaving university, some of which I loved, others which I thought would destroy me!

If you’re in fashion like me, you can end up hating fashion for a good proportion of each day- god I can tell you stories! Days where I would come home in tears after being told ‘Interns can’t use the sugar’. I’ve sat amongst a mountain of clothes in a press cupboard on my own for 7 hours each day, oh and then there where countless days of lugging three suitcases of clothing returns across town, back to their respective PRs.

I worried about ever getting paid to do anything in the industry when there is a mammoth queue of little misses ready and willing to give their services and souls free of charge just like me. These are the insecurities I had.

After nearly two years of interning, I realised that there is a precious silver lining to the momentary storm. It comes in the form of future success. Spurred on by my family, creative impulses and constant frugality, I persisted with every unpaid role a big brand offered me, took every opportunity to network and kept smiling. The experiences I gained throughout my internship journey provided me with credibility, experience and determination.

Working in the head offices of brands such as More Magazine, Damaris, Topshop, New Look, Dorothy Perkins, and The Observer, as well as freelancing for two high-end beauty brands, and a fashion events company, I gained an enormous amount of experience and skills, learning everything from gaining credible PR, creating award winning campaigns, organizing successful fashion shows and events, along with working with the most successful social media company in Europe.

This year, I used the skills I gained during my internships, followed by a hard dose of slog, and created my own company: Designer District.

The purpose of Designer District is to help talented designers take their first steps into the fashion industry. It provides all the help and support for new and emerging designers to help them become their own established and recognised label. Using the contacts I built up from internships and freelance roles, in addition to the models, photographers and industry experts I met along the way, Designer District is able to provide PR coverage and management, along with creating and shooting portfolios, an online marketplace for buyers to browse collections, and showcase upcoming collections on the catwalk to key industry figures.

If you’d like to read more about Designer District, please visit my website, I am always looking for talented photographers, models and make-up artists to work with, as well as designers so if you’d like to contact me, just email and you can also follow me on twitter @DesignerDstrict

Graduate internships can be a tough slog, but if used in the right way, can be stepping-stones to really fantastic possibilities!