Inside story: AMDT interns share their on-the-job education

In New York, Los Angeles, or their hometown, AMDT students and graduates spent their summer building real, on-the-job skills.

Interning at top manufacturers, fashion houses and retailers like Diane von Furstenberg, Elle, New Fashion Products, Nordstrom and Speedo, AMDT students worked to overcome challenges and put their education to work in the real world.

Growing skills, confidence in the Big Apple

amdt-intern-emily-wangExperiencing vibrant New York City, Emily Wang broadened her skills and her confidence at menswear developer Thomas Dean Co.

“As a fashion student, New York is the best city to learn about the industry,” said Wang. “You’re able to immerse yourself in an environment with a large group of people and businesses that are just as enthusiastic as you are.”

“Thomas Dean has been such an enriching experience, especially when I get to learn from the brand’s creative director, Simone Tobias. She has been a mentor, allowing me to explore a variety of assignments. On challenging tasks like graphic work, she walked me through the process and taught me necessary skills.”

Wang’s biggest lesson was to never set a limit for herself.

“Before coming to the city, I thought my future was confined to Washington. Anything outside of the state just seemed out of the question,” she said. “Living in New York has taught me how many opportunities are out there for fashion students. While it may sound cliché, as long as you are enthusiastic, hardworking and persistent, there’s something for everyone.”

Learning from leadership

Keena Hudson
Keena Hudson

AMDT senior Keena Hudson met designer Diane von Furstenberg and interned at her Manhattan fashion house.

“My most exciting moment was meeting Diane herself, and listening to her advice and words of wisdom,” she said. “I really got to understand what her company is about and how it is important to be a good leader in life.”

Her top experience was working behind the scenes with her mentor, technical designer Harriet Regalado, and other colleagues.

“That really improved my technical design skills and helped me get a better understanding of this aspect of fashion,” she said.

Hudson measured and commented on production line samples, fixed construction errors and created technical documents and comment pages.

amdt-intern-hudsn-groupBeing new, and not knowing all of the company’s measurements, was challenging for her. It was also a fast-paced, busy, changing environment.

“I solved these issues by communicating with my mentor and supervisor,” she said. “I asked questions when I didn’t know things, and asked for advice on how to better understand the processes of technical design.” That feedback helped her learn and improve.

“New York was amazing!” said Hudson, who commuted from Brooklyn to Manhattan. “I worked in the center of the garment district. It was a great experience to see the fast-living lifestyle of the city, being so close to everything. I enjoyed the buildings’ architecture and the New York city culture.”

She plans to attend graduate school, research plus-size fashion and work on improving the plus-size shopping experience.

“In the far future, I would love to have my own plus-size line or company,” Hudson said.

Achieving goals at Speedo

amdt-intern-emily-altobelli

Learning about the global supply chain, AMDT alumna Emily Altobelli experienced her dream internship at Speedo in Cypress, Calif.

Altobelli, who graduated last May, worked inside Speedo’s supply chain arm, helping the product development, technical design, production and hard goods departments. She worked in a massive corporate center with Olympic swimming trials on a big wall screen.

A highlight was the pool at Speedo, where employees test everything from suits to caps and goggles. Altobelli’s role was testing for drying speed of Speedo’s water shoes.

Visiting a retailer with Speedo product developers and manufacturers from Hong Kong, Altobelli listened as they reviewed products, positioning and sales information.

“I’ve learned that communication is crucial in a living business, with hundreds of people each doing different tasks to achieve one goal,” she said. “It was fun and empowering.

She also tried out the company’s new fitness app, SpeedoFit.

“One great thing about Speedo is the culture,” Altobelli added. “Speedo reserves pool space for what we call ‘Speedo Swim Club.’ Everyone is encouraged to take a break and swim and workout with coworkers.”

The people factor

amdt-intern-jennifer-kellingAMDT student Jennifer Kelling gained internship credit in her summer job as an associate at retailer Anthropologie in downtown Seattle.

“My biggest lesson was learning how to better communicate and interact with people,” said Kelling. “The more people you encounter, the better you get at dealing with people. To be in fashion, this is something you must master.”

She loved watching the store’s display and merchandising teams turn the sales floor into a work of art.

“Their displays are literal pieces of art that combine well-merchandised clothing and products,” she said. This curated, whimsical experience makes Anthropologie unique.

“Seeing how the store transitioned and blossomed with constant development of displays and merchandising was something I looked forward to every day.”

“You have to push to be where you want to be,” she added. “Take initiative, ask for more leadership opportunities and be vocal about the work you put in. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself a little, make sure people know where you want to go. You will get there faster.”

Kelling’s most exciting realization was watching herself grow through the experience. She wants to continue working at Anthropologie, moving into higher responsibilities.