Be strong, be resilient, be rigorous: fashion graduate Paige Leach on her internship at Givenchy

USW fashion graduate Paige Leach packed her bags and left for Paris after winning an internship at the luxury French fashion house, Givenchy.
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USW fashion graduate Paige Leach packed her bags and left for Paris after winning an internship at the French luxury fashion house, Givenchy:

"Winning the six-month internship at Givenchy didn’t seem real - I didn't expect to win because I was up against people who had more experience.

It was a lot to take in, but I put everything I had into the competition. The Fashion Design course at USW taught me how to present my work and how to set myself apart from the competition.

I was a bit scared when I found out I'd won the competition - I didn’t know anything about Paris! I was the only one from my friend group who had ever done anything like this, so in that sense, it was a bit hard. I do like being out of my comfort zone and discovering new things, though.

Be strong, be resilient, be rigorous - push through with your ideas and ambitions and ask for second opinions, advice and support when you need it

My internship with Givenchy helped shape my identity as a fashion designer. When you’re working with a fashion house, you need to take their ideas and progress them. The internship also gave me a real understanding of how to control my designs and their wear-ability.

The internship did make me a stronger designer, but more importantly, it made me a braver one, too. It taught me how to persevere and have confidence in my work and when to ask for help.

Working between Couture and Ready to Wear, I learnt about a whole new way of working - the ‘French’ way! They have a healthy approach to work-life balance, which is something I will take home with me.

The internship with Givenchy was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I faced a lot of challenges, from dealing with personal differences to self-confidence, but I’ve learnt what I’m capable of now.

I had four hours to make a toile in a fabric that I had never used before - I couldn't believe it when my concept made it to the fashion show

One of my proudest moments was when I was working in Ready to Wear. I had four hours to make a toile in a fabric that I had never used before. I felt so much pressure to finish the dress, so I couldn't believe it when my concept had made it into the fashion show.

USW’s fashion design degree teaches you how to use sewing machines and how to behave in the workroom. These skills were invaluable during my internship.

If you’re looking to break into the fashion industry - be strong, be resilient, be rigorous. Push through with your ideas and ambitions and ask for second opinions, advice and support when you need it.

It’s important to build your network and immerse yourself in culture, opinions and ideas. Make sure you enter competitions so you can experience working with a live industry brief."

Are you looking to follow in Paige’s footsteps? Take a look at some of our fashion courses and apply now.