Lauren Barry ’21

The Impression, Williamstown, MA

This summer I interned at a fashion magazine and online media firm, The Impression, as an Editorial Intern. The Impression is a fashion trade magazine catering to the top CEOs and marketing officials of the luxury fashion brands. I worked alongside another Williams student, Kester Messan-Hilla ’21, under the Editor in Chief, Kenneth Richard. As this company recently relocated from New York City to Williamstown, we hope to spread the amazing experience we had to the student body and introduce the brand to many of the talents Williams provides to further launch and improve their established brand. The Impression is determined in their mission of “making fashion creative.” As an intern for their brand, I was assigned a multitude of tasks every day that covered a variety of the assets of their company.

This internship was the epitome of the combination of my two majors: English and studio art. I could not think of a better job than analytically writing for a fashion magazine to capture and further what I strive to do every day here at Williams. I have been drawn to style, art, and design for a solid portion of my life and this summer I was able to take something I love and apply it into a physical and actual job. Especially after this internship and the learning I have experienced here in college, I wish to continue down the line of either journalism in the arts or in entertainment media. The summer’s key take away was allowing me to obtain a set of foundational skills and knowledge for both of these lines of professions.

One of the moving parts of this internship is seeing the hours of an actual fashion magazine adjust to the real timing of the fashion world. During the first couple of weeks in my internship, New York, London, Milan, Pitti Uomo in Florence, and Paris Fashion Weeks were all underway. Our supervisor, who was attending the fashion shows, trusted us in reviewing the shows, uploading the pictures and reports, and updating and completing the graphic design of the website and email each day. This was a huge responsibility as we were the main publishers for the magazine during fashion week. Kester and I experienced what the situations of running a magazine and sending out subscription emails were like. We also watched the fashion shows live: fully immersing ourselves into the industry of fashion.

This experience in Pairs Fashion Week really gave insight into how the fashion world operates and puts on their biggest events of the year. Being able to take a photo of the runway shows (exhibiting something already so artistic) and adding in my own eye of design was an experience I enjoyed greatly. Art and design is a big part of my life and my interest. This opportunity allowed me to be hands on in creating my own design and layouts of pieces, something rarely found in an undergrad internship.

After Paris Fashion Week, when our supervisor returned, Kester and I had been in such a graphic design and fashion show mode that it was hard to imagine anything else. For the next two weeks, we continued reporting on the women’s couture shows (featuring long and large ball gowns and exhibitions of fantastical dresses). After couture weeks started winding down, Kester and I began what turned out to be the main bulk of our internship: writing. From reporting on new pop ups, new designers, and new releases of advertisement campaigns, we had the privilege of putting together our own portfolio of published works.

As an English major, I have gathered an understanding of what it means to approach artistic or literary pieces critically and analytically. Working at The Impression allowed me to use this skill in an applicable sense and analyze an entire marketing advertisement campaign for a fashion brand; then turn it into an article that is both coherent and stylistic. Writing is tied closely to marketing, and being a writer, you have to be able to grab and sell your piece to the reader with the title, cover, or the first line of the story. In this internship, I was able to both market my own pieces as I was reviewing the marketing of another. I quite literally transferred my studies at Williams into a professional career I look to possibly pursue in the future. On top of this, I gained an understanding of how a magazine is run. Working with Kenneth Richards and his family was a fantastic experience and I gained more knowledge than I could ever expect from this internship. Going in, I truthfully did not see myself working in fashion. Now, after working for this company, the skills I learned have made me very inclined to pursue careers in the industry. However, I know that if I were to continue down another career path, these skills are transferable to a variety marketing and media companies.

For someone very interested in the journalism or media broadcasting, the opportunity to gather a portfolio together just after my sophomore year is something that I know I will be eternally grateful for (I finished the summer with 58 published articles). Although I was using the writing skills and tools I have learned at Williams, I was able to write in a more creative and freeform way than I had ever had the chance to before. This opportunity allowed me to actually build a portfolio that I was proud to have my name on and call my work.

This summer was an amazing experience. I have made new friends, started a portfolio of my own work and designs, and gained knowledge and skills I know I will carry with me through my lifetime. Thank you to all who made this possible. I cannot wait to see how this summer affects my future career because it has surely already affected who I am greatly.