New rules will apply to free fashion internships, at last. They will receive a salary and not just expenses, such as lunch and transport. However, I have to ask. Does the joy of working in the fashion industry justify working without a salary?
It beggars believe that such a practice goes on. Surely with the costing of designer garments, fashion houses and designers would ensure that all those who helped with the work involved to create the fashion designs was paid, at the very least, the minimum salary. Thankfully the free fashion internships situation is now being addressed, as reported in the following report.
In a move welcomed by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, HMRC says it has written to all 102 fashion houses involved with September’s London fashion week warning them about non-payment of the minimum wage of £6.08 an hour for those aged 21 and over.
Companies that have received letters include Mulberry, Paul Smith, Nicole Farhi and Burberry.
Clegg, said: “I strongly urge fashion houses and designer labels to make sure they are treating interns fairly. Where an individual is entitled to the minimum wage they should receive it.
“Internships provide valuable opportunities and should be available to everyone, not just those who can afford to work for nothing.”
Free Fashion Internships report
Having experience of running a fashion business and designing garments in the high price bracket, I cannot see how fashion companies can find an arguement for not paying staff a sufficent salary. Taking pride in creating designs which the public want to wear is one thing but without looking after your staff, at all levels, that is surely unacceptable.
Obviously with the current recession, costs have to be made in every aspect of running a business. Possibly when a company is at the walls with business debt, then they may feel that they cannot afford to pay the staff, but this is a different senario altogether.
Interns are looking for experience and the fact that they have been allowed to be exploited for so long, is very surprising.
The fashion industry is unusual in that it has to combine the creativity of the fashion designs with the necessary day to day business practices. This can be a challenge for new fashion companies but definitely not unsurmountable. The fashion industry will always look to employ interns for their convenience and flexibility. With the new outlines to be introduced with regard to payment of at least the minimum salary, free fashion internships will be a thing of the past in the fashion industry and righly so, a lot may say.