UNPAID INTERN TAKES ON BRITISH FASHION
HOUSE ALEXANDER MCQUEEN
• A former intern at Alexander McQueen is suing the fashion house for not
paying her the national minimum wage during her four months of unpaid
work. She claims she is owed £6,415 in “lost wages” for her work during
2009-10. Her lawyer says that when interns do “real work under a
contract” they are entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage.
• The president of a top arts university has penned an angry letter to
Alexander McQueen's office following an advertisement for an 11 month-
long unpaid internship. Shelly Asquith, the student union president of the
University of the Arts London, where McQueen studied, wrote to the late
designer’s head office accusing the label of “using and abusing” fashion
A STELLA VICTORY FOR INTERNS!
MCCARTNEY FINALLY BANS UNPAID
• Trouble started when one former intern posted a negative comment on website
Interns Anonymous last year, saying: “I felt as if I was dirt on the floor – We would
have to work from 9am until late. I tried to leave no later than eight [but] I know
other interns who would work until midnight steaming clothes and mailing
envelopes – unpaid.”
• Later, the Daily Mail reported that one of the sites’ administrators alleged that a
representative from Stella McCartney demanded that the post be removed. “He
told me he would make life very difficult for me at work, basically insinuating he
would try and get me sacked from my job in PR. I didn’t want to get sued, so I took
down the post. Then he started making threats to everyone who had re-tweeted
the story on Twitter. I got emails that night from all sorts of people saying they had
got random phone calls and emails laced with legal threats.”
• Stella McCartney Company Answer: For “Work Experience” – for those still
studying – Stella McCartney Ltd compensate 600 GBP per month as expenses to
include travel and lunch: “Work Experience” students can expect to shadow
projects, learn how processes work and be involved in the day-to-day running of
the office.For “Internships” – for those who have graduated or are no longer
studying we already pay minimum wage plus luncheon vouchers and travel
expenses. Internships will offer the opportunity to get involved in projects and will
be given set tasks to complete. Internships period will last from 3 months to 1 year.
• Unite fashion students to create a wall of opposition to rattle the cage of
• Solidarity against oppressive large scale organizations.
• To empower and create a voice for vulnerable student voices.
• To empower people of all backgrounds and status to achieve equal
opportunities for employment.
• To reform and destroy the acceptance of the culture of exploitation
through unpaid work .
• To create a sustainable living wage for students by petitioning the
government, active protests and boycotting of major fashion brands.
• To extinguish loopholes in law and set in place a strict monitoring
procedure for the protection of students vulnerable to bullying from larger
• To create a petition obliging companies to pay graduate interns a bit more
than the minimum wage and acknowledging their capacities
• To forbid indecent working hours
• To make student understand their right when it comes to what they are
entitled to while interning
Our mission statement is to rise student awareness about
companies misbehavior in the fashion industry. Students
need to know their rights and speak up when those are
not being respected. The circle of fashion student
exploitation needs to be ended thanks to laws established
by the government. Our mission need to enable fashion
students to intern and receive enough money from the
company to cover their living costs (transport ,food or
maybe minimum wage). Graduate interns should be paid
the minimum wage or more and indecent working hours
should be banned.
• Visit universities to unify the body of fashion students.
• Petition local MPs, notable fashion personalities, bloggers universities and
positions of authority to stand with and for us.
• Boycott low standard internships
• Visual campaigning to raise awareness of what is and what could be –
inspire a healthier, more respectful alternative
• Put forward a minimum of standards:
• For companies with a revenue exceeding XYZ such as Alexander McQueen,
Stella McCartney etc
• For start-ups without the means to pay, reasonable working hours, 9am –
• Transport, food, respect, sleep
• For interns that work beyond 7pm to be given an evening meal
• For interns that work beyond 10/11pm, taxis home
• At least 7 hours between close of work the previous day and starting the