In Stockholm, Fashion & Management student Meritt Teunissen van Manen is a fabrics intern at Acne Studios. How did she land this job? What she’s been up to and what’s next? AMFI.nl’s Orla Tiffney investigates.
Hi Meritt, first of all congratulations! Can you perhaps shed some light on what it’s like to be a fabrics intern at the highly coveted Acne Studios? Give us a taste of your daily life.
It’s a lot of hard work. The fabrics department functions in between the design and production departments. Mainly I assist the menswear fabric developer, but I also assist the womenswear fabric developer and her assistant. From time to time, I also help the prints and trims developers. My tasks include, for example, updating fabric cards for design and production. Another is organising the fabric archives that are used for research by production. I price and sort fabric samples, and ensure the preparations, last minute requests or changes run smoothly for meetings. One thing is for sure, there is never a dull moment as a fabrics intern! And it’s interesting to think about how I am but a small piece of the puzzle.
In what ways is Stockholm Acne life different from Amsterdam AMFI life?
Being an intern at Acne is just like having a full-time job, I work from 09:00 until 19.00 and the content of my day is dictated by the needs of my department. I feel that at AMFI I have more freedom to plan my own time, it is more flexible.
How did you acquire the internship?
Since I did well in CAD-CAM classes during first year, I was asked to work on a digital fabrics database being developed by a group of passionate AMFI lecturers. After classes had let out last summer, AMFI textiles lecturer Chris Koeleman, found me working in the laboratory. He told me the fabrics department of Acne Studios was still looking for an intern, and asked if I was interested in applying.
Of course I was thrilled and applied immediately! That Friday, the head of the fabrics department of Acne Studios would be in Amsterdam and an interview was scheduled. Within a week, I had completed two intake interviews and was given an offer.
I had been quite late with organizing my internship, actually. I could not find anything that really spoke to me. My gut feeling told me I shouldn’t worry, that something would come along, and lucky for me it did.
You could say I got my internship thanks to being at the right place at the right time, something I have learned is very important in fashion.
Apart from CAD-CAM and the fabrics lab, how did your time at AMFI prepare you for this role as a fabrics intern?
In ways I had not expected before. In my case, lectures about textiles have been very useful. Perhaps a surprise, but I use the material from TBB Business A and B on a daily basis! The key takeaway was how everything from concepting to production links together, and now I get to see how this plays out in reality.
Have there been any shocks or revelations, major or minor, since you arrived at Acne?
Every day I’m still discovering new things about Acne Studios, the fashion industry as a whole and about my role within it. I can’t really put my finger on what they are, since I’m still reflecting and drawing conclusions. Which is exactly what an internship is for, of course, experiencing the fashion industry from within and reflecting on what one sees and does.
Does what you’re doing now relate to the minors or specialisations you had planned to follow? Have you been served any additional food for thought?
Since I’m slated to do the International Production specialisation the obvious choice for me was to do a production internship. Although it wasn’t my first choice, now I understand how fabric choice works in turn with developing a fashion collection. By the end of my flexible programme I will have experienced a broad scope of a fashion label’s activities, from design and range planning and collectioning, to sourcing and production.
What advice do you have for fledgling AMFI students to prepare for their internship?
Before deciding between companies, also look into the company culture. I did not do this, but realise now that would have been useful. Also, while you’re still in first or second year, get involved with cool extracurricular activities. You never know where they might lead you. Who knows, maybe to Stockholm!
Images by Lois Rutten, 3rd year Int. Fashion & Management student.