Fashion Intern interviewed Sophie Brocklebank, Social Media & Graphic Design Intern at G_IRL. FI investigates what life is really like working as an intern during a pandemic and the pressures that come with balancing a degree alongside.
Soph, tell us a bit about you? Why did you choose to study Fashion Promotion?
Hey! So I’m Soph, I’m 22 and I have a passion for visual communication and creativity! I also love cats a LOT. I’ve always, always wanted to work in fashion but only ever studied academic subjects so embarking on this degree was a huge gamble as to whether it would be right for me or not and it turned out to be perfect. A degree in Fashion Promotion is a great way to ease yourself into the fashion industry and try out loads of different things before deciding which path you want to go down. When I arrived in September I literally knew that I loved fashion and that was it, I had no idea what I was good at or where I wanted to go. I’ve been able to explore trend forecasting, branding, marketing, buying and merchandising, design, fashion media, PR and so much more while allowing myself time to figure out what I really wanted to do.
On a personal note, how has Covid-19 affected your degree and internship?
It’s a weird one to get your head around because on the one hand, we have all this extra time, but on the other hand something about lockdown has really knocked my motivation and confidence and I don’t really know why. I’ve definitely struggled with my degree these past couple months but I think it’s important sometimes to stop being so focused on getting a high grade and just handing in the best you can do, especially at this time. My lecturers have been amazing and are always there to help. I’ve been a lot more motivated with my internship though, which mostly comes down to the amazing community we have at G_IRL. We have a group chat with all the team members and ambassadors and everyone’s just so lovely and supportive. And obviously having the past couple months off my pub job has been helpful to really allow me to settle into my internship and give it all I’ve got.
What has it been like working as a Graphic Design Intern at G_IRL for 4 months?
I absolutely adore everyone at G_IRL and I enjoy the work I’m doing so much that sometimes I have to pinch myself. I sometimes feel like I’m living this dream life – books and films always tell us gruelling stories of working your way into the fashion industry, being the “coffee b*tch” and running around photocopying all day. While it’s definitely hard work, and there’s a lot to do running up to deadlines, I love what I do and the responsibility I have in the magazine and brand gives me a sense of importance rather than feeling like I’m at the bottom of the food chain. Having this as my first ever internship just makes me feel so lucky. The G_IRL brand is incredible and I’m so proud to represent it.
I love what I do and the responsibility I have in the magazine and brand gives me a sense of importance rather than feeling like I’m at the bottom of the food chain.
What does working as a Graphic Design Intern involve? Have you lost the will over zoom meetings?
Do you know what, the team that works at G_IRL is so small and we all have such separate roles that we don’t really use Zoom. We have a group chat and send a lot of voice notes though, I think one day Lucinda (The Editor) sent me one that was like 20 minutes long haha. When I’m doing G_IRL work, which is usually 2 or 3 days a week at the moment because I still have uni, most of my time is spent designing and creating social media content for the G_IRL Instagram story. For the past 8 weeks we’ve had this really cool makeup feature with a giveaway every Monday and I’ve been making all the slides for that. When I’m not doing that, I’ll be designing some typography or graphics for the print magazine or working on anything else that needs designing. A couple weeks ago I made a ‘washing instructions’ flyer that goes out with all the clothes orders. I’m basically always designing and producing graphics for whatever needs to be done at the time.
Has this internship opened up your eyes to working in the industry? Has there been anything that really surprised you?
From what I know, my internship is pretty unique and not a completely accurate representation of the fashion media industry. I’ve been so lucky to work with such a friendly, tiny team so I definitely don’t expect it from the industry as a whole! I guess how lovely, supportive and chilled out my boss is was a surprise and just how close the G_IRL community is. It has massively surprised me how much people like my work, because we only learned the very basics at uni so most of my graphic design skills are self-taught and I have so much still to learn. But I always get amazing feedback which has really increased my confidence. Lucinda also works extremely, extremely hard on G_IRL, all hours of the day and is basically superwoman so she always amazes me.
What’s it like doing an internship whilst still having university work to manage? How do you stay on top of everything?
It’s definitely hard, especially because I had my part time job as well. Obviously things have changed hugely now so it’s nowhere near as hard but I imagine when things start to go back to ‘normal’ and the pressure increases I will be practicing self-care and basically just having as much ‘me’ time as I can, which always helps if you’re a busy person. I love incense and also making daily to-do lists I find helpful. Music plays a huge part in my emotions too, so I can really use that to give myself a positive outlook on things and stay calm.
Has working from home made doing an ‘internship more of a viable option’ as you no longer have to worry about travel expenses or food?
Definitely! We originally had to complete an internship this summer as part of our course (obviously this isn’t compulsory anymore because of Coronavirus) and I worried for MONTHS about how I would afford it, where I would live, what would I do if I woke up one morning with awful mental health and didn’t want to come in…I’ve definitely started to realise that there are loads of benefits of working from home for me. As long as I’m getting out for walks and I see people regularly, it works really well for me. I definitely day drink a lot more than I would if I was in an office haha.
What does your WFH routine & wardrobe now look like?
I’m definitely not a WFH role model! As I said before I have struggled hugely with motivation during lockdown but I’m doing the best I can. I usually get up at about 9, make some breakfast, watch an episode of something and chill out for a bit. My daily routine is basically a cycle of doing work, watching a TV series, drinking Pepsi Max and going out for walks. It works for me! Most days I wear a baggy tee and some shorts or literally a bikini because it’s so hot at the moment. I definitely don’t get dressed “properly” but I’m comfy and that’s kind of all that matters to me. I do my makeup some days too which is always a nice treat. The weather here is amazing so I spend a lot of time in the garden or just going out for walks so I wear gym stuff a lot too.
Once you finish your degree what are your hopes for the future?
Big question! I would love to do an MA and I currently have my eye on one at CSM but I haven’t worked out whether doing one in London is going to be financially sustainable. I would love to stay interning for G_IRL for a while and basically just want to focus the next couple years on building a really strong portfolio and becoming confident in my skills. I love the idea of taking over an art direction role at a print publication or running a brand’s social media. The one thing I know for sure is that I never want to put myself in a box. I love the idea of just doing what I love and experiencing new things. I would love to just randomly bring out a collection one year and then move onto something completely different. I just want to experience it all.