Are Fashion Internships Fundamentally Unfair? Industry Insiders Weigh In
Former Harper's Bazaar intern Xuedan Wang's suit against Hearst for violating state and federal wage and hour laws has certainly got people in the industry talking. One thing in particular that's stood out is neither the unsavory working conditions of unpaid internships (read: long hours, menial tasks, putting up with serious attitudes), nor the lack of compensation (whether by stipend or college credit) but the fact that, as Wang's lawsuit states, "the prevalence of the practice nationwide, curtails opportunities for employment, [and] fosters class divisions between those who can afford to work for no wage and those who cannot." Internships can be a great way to break into the industry--actually we'd argue that they're pretty much the only way to break into the industry (so far, anyway--all of us here at Fashionista, save Leah, started as Fashionista interns first).