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Internship Spotlight

Katerina McGrath

Intern at KCD production agency, Paris.

Internships are a great opportunity to apply what you learn in the classroom to life in the “real world”. Here, Journalism student Katerina McGrath shares her experience in a series of internships in the fashion industry. In her first internship, she recounts how she could barely keep up with discussions around the lunch table. Her colleagues’ knowledge of major players in the fashion industry surpassed her own. Then after taking a course with AUP Professor Madeleine Czigler called Communicating Fashion, the next season she was able to follow along and even contribute to the conversation!

In this issue of AUP Intern Profiles Katerina McGrath tells us all about her internship with KCD.

 

Tell us a little bit about your background.

I grew up in Coronado, California, which is an island off the coast of San Diego. I'm Irish American. I lived for six months in Laon, France with a host family at the age of 15. I moved to Paris when I was 17 and have lived here ever since.

 

Which company/organization are you currently interning with?

I interned for KCD production agency for three seasons of Paris Fashion Week and just recently was hired by them as a Freelance Production Assistant. I have freelanced for them for two seasons.

 

Where is your internship taking place?

In Paris, France.

 

When is your internship taking place?

My internships followed the fashion cycles. I would work Spring Summer and Fall Winter for Women's fashion mostly, and just recently started working Men's week.

 

What is your job title?

Freelance Production Assistant.

 

What types of responsibilities and/or tasks do you have in your internship? What's a typical day for you?

Production includes organizational tasks such as making look boards, headshot boards, assisting in set-up, and day of show behind the scenes help such as setting up dressing racks, making sure all models are in attendance, and fixing last minute issues. It sounds boring but it's exciting. I truly am a part of the show. A typical day for me changes every time I work. Sometimes I'll show up on the first day and work 22 hours straight with no sleep, go home from 7am to 3pm, and then have to go back and start work again. Other days, I come in at 1pm and leave at 9pm. It all just depends on how much work we can get done and what our schedule is like!

 

What are the biggest challenges and successes you’ve experienced during your internship?

The biggest challenge for me was always that I was thrown into tasks without knowing exactly what I was doing and I just had to get them done. It's intimidating working in a field where everyone else is a lot older than you and has been working in fashion for ten or more years. I think that my biggest successes also come from thrown into things as well. Probably because it assures me that I have a place and purpose in the industry even though I've only worked for KCD for a year. I'd also say a big success I had was getting hired by them. I enjoyed interning but was not being paid as it's an American company, and after three seasons they asked me if I would like to join KCD as a freelancer. It felt good being recognized for what I bring to the table.

 

What language(s) are you speaking/using in your internship?

I mostly speak English, but it depends if I'm working with the Paris team or the New York team. It is super useful to know French though. My bosses from NYC were really impressed with me when they knew I could translate important information for them. I ended up telling a bunch of the male models in French what exactly their walk was for the Louis Vuitton Men’s show FW19 because no one else I worked with could explain to them. It was a great experience though, and it brought me closer to the people I work with.

 

Tell us about your future goals/aspirations. Is this internship relevant? Do you think it will help you along the way?

I'm looking at working in the fashion industry, but hopefully more in a creative way, such as styling or photography. Interning with KCD has helped a lot. It's given me a taste of what it's like to work in the fashion industry, and has given me the opportunity to network. My coworkers are some of the loveliest people I've met and have showed me so much in such a short time. I'd like to continue working for KCD in the future and maybe expand into the creative facets later on, once I know exactly where I want to go.

 

Anything else to share? 

I think it's a really cool experience getting to intern/work and study at the same time. I never knew how my studies would affect how I work in the fashion industry. I remember the first time I interned and I had no idea what my coworkers were talking about at the lunch table- there were too many names that I didn't know. I took the Communicating Fashion class with Madeleine Czigler and the next season I worked I was able to actually follow along and understand what they were talking about. It seriously helped me so much!