Living The Dream: CMU Students Share Their Experiences As Interns In The Fashion Industry

Story by Jenna Boulter

A big part of landing that dream job post-graduation is an internship. The thought can be scary and stressful, but the experience is worth so much.

Three Central Michigan University fashion students tell Grand Central about their experiences as an intern in the fashion industry.

Becker’s Bridal: Fowler, Mich.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Belt and Becker’s Bridal

Senior Amanda Belt is studying fashion merchandising with a minor in marketing. She spent her summer as an intern at Becker’s Bridal in Fowler, Mich. where she will work as a full-time bridal stylist after graduation.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Belt and Becker’s Bridal

During her internship at Becker’s Bridal, Belt excelled in helping brides find their dream wedding gown, assisted in creating content for the brand’s social media platforms, booked appointments, worked on processing stocks and order, organized trunk shows, took part in photoshoots and attended PR events.

“I learned I have a passion for bridal,” Belt said.

Photo courtesy of Amanda Belt and Becker’s Bridal

Besides being surrounded by tulle and sparkle everyday, Belt’s favorite part of her experience was working with brides and making their dress shopping a memorable experience. She also loved that everyday was different and she worked with all different kinds of people.

“Becker’s is a small family owned businesses with a HUGE reach. It took a lot of effort from the entire team to be successful, I learned nothing comes easy,” Belt said.

Some advice Belt has to those looking for an internship is to use your internship to further your career and get excited about it, rather than just to pass a class for school.

“Never say no, try new experiences and push yourself out of your comfort zone. I never imagined working bridal, but now I can’t think of doing anything else,” Belt said.

Fashion Design at Anastasia Chatzka: Chicago, IL 

Senior Analiese Zaleski, fashion design student, spent her summer interning for a local fashion designer, Anastasia Chatzka in Chicago, IL.

Photo courtesy of Analiese Zaleski

“Anastasia recently transformed her business to custom fit work while I was interning with her. I had the chance to help with that as well as see some behind the scenes of what it takes to make drastic changes in a business and all the work that goes into the process,” Zaleski said.

Zaleski dreams of having her own boutique one day designing her own clothes. This internship gave her great opportunities to pursue her dreams.

Zaleski had the opportunity to create a window display, attend fittings, fabric sourcing and pattern development.

Photo courtesy of Analiese Zaleski

“One of my favorite things I worked on was a raindrop inspired window display to showcase the new raincoats from the Limited-Edition collection. I made 3D raindrops out of paper that I sewed together to hang in the window, styled the mannequins, and added props and a vinyl to the window,” Zaleski said.

For the duration of her internship Zaleski lived in an Airbnb in the Chicago area with other roommates.

“Living with a bunch of people was cool beacuase you instantly have friends and you get to meet people from all over, but it’s also very expensive for the small room you get,” Zaleski said.

Zaleski’s advice to those looking for internships is to start sooner rather than later and to start working on a portfolio or resume as soon as you can.

“My other piece of advice is to be persistent; companies are not going to be in a hurry like you are to get an internship so you have to stay on top of things because you have a set deadline,” Zaleski said.

Zaleski explains that her favorite part of her internship was working in the studio with Anastasia Chatzka.

Photo courtesy of Analiese Zaleski

“She taught me so many new things about sewing and pattern making that I am so grateful to have had an opportunity like this,” Zaleski said.

America’s Bride: Grand Rapids, Mich.

Photo courtesy of Anna Cerimele

Senior, Anna Cerimele, spent her summer internship at America’s Bride in Grand Rapids, Mich.

“During my time at America’s Bride I learned a lot about the bridal industry. I came into this internship having no prior bridal experience and I can confidently say now that I have a better understanding of the industry,” Cerimele said.

Cerimele worked with America’s Bride’s social media platforms by posting on their website, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. To complete her 10 learning objectives, Cerimele was responsible for creating a window display, hosting a trunk show, completing inventory for the store and pricing new inventory.

“When I was not working with a bride, I was dressing mannequins and putting a collection of images together to attract customer into the store,” Cerimele said.

Photo courtesy of Anna Cerimele

Cerimele explained how a normal day would be at work. First, she would look over the calendar to see the appointments for the day. Each consultant would be assigned an appointment. Cerimele consulted by asking the bride-to-be a series of questions to gauge what she was looking for. She would assist the bride with the dress and listened on their feedback to understand how the bride was felt about each dress. The process would not be completed until the bride was able to say, “Yes to the dress”.

“I also got the opportunity to learn about customer buying behavior because I was directly involved with her purchase. I believe that this experience is going to help me tremendously as a future fashion buyer,” Cerimele said.

Although it is a scary thought to get an internship, these three CMU students got opportunities and experiences that will go with them as they pursue their dreams in the fashion industry.