The Internship Series: Meet Leslie Graver
By Rachael Thomas
Photographs courtesy of Leslie Graver
Welcome to the Internship Series, where for the month of June we will be highlighting several college students doing a variety of internships this summer. These students will give insight into what they do for their internship and tips on how to prepare for one. For many individuals, completing one is required as part of their degree program. But beyond the requirements, internships provide the opportunity for personal growth and to create professional connections while doing what you love.
To kick off our series, meet Leslie Graver! A senior at Central Michigan University, this fashion design student travelled over 600 miles from her hometown in Imlay City, Michigan for her creative fashion design internship at Paul Carroll, a women’s ready-to-wear design company in Brooklyn, New York City.
RAW Magazine: Why did you decide to pursue this internship?
Leslie Graver: I decided to pursue this internship because it appeared to be a very hands-on and personal experience with the designer. Since Paul Carroll designs, drapes, patterns, and constructs everything himself, I knew I would have the ability to explore several aspects of fashion design through this internship.
RM: How is this internship aiding you in your career goals?
LG: The number of ways in which this internship has helped me in my career goals is already astronomical. I have already learned so much about patternmaking and sewing techniques, as well as Paul’s design process from ideation to construction of the final garment. Paul also has an extensive network of previous interns that are now working in the fashion industry, which are all potential resources for me when starting my career after graduation.
RM: What did you do to prepare for this internship?
LG: To prepare for this internship, I researched Paul Carroll and his designs throughout the years, getting to know his style a little bit before my first day. Additionally, I had to move to New York City for the position, which was a huge yet very exciting change for me.
RM: What are the three most important things people need to have prepared when applying for internships?
A solid resume! This is the most important piece of information that you will be sending to potential internships, so it’s important to keep it up-to-date and creatively laid out in order to stand out among the applications of your peers.
A portfolio featuring the work that you are most proud of. I struggle a little bit with including too much, but internships prefer a smaller portfolio of only your highest quality work since they don’t have a lot of time to search through a large portfolio.
Confidence! Don’t shy away from applying to internships that you don’t think you can get. You never know what an internship is looking for, and you might be exactly what they want!
RM: Any other advice you’d give to people trying to get an internship in your field?
LG: Stay open to many different possibilities, and don’t get your heart set on one particular internship. My “dream internship” kind of strung me along for a little bit, making me think that I had gotten the position, and then things didn’t work out on their end. I then frantically began applying other places and ended up with an internship that is more than I could have ever dreamed of. Sometimes the most unexpected circumstances lead to the best experiences.
RM: What is a typical day for you at your internship?
LG: While no day is really “typical” at this internship, we do always start off the day at 10:00 am by catching up on what both me and Paul did after leaving work the night before. We might then begin draping a new garment for his Spring/Summer 2019 collection on a dress form. We’ll then take it down and convert it to a paper pattern. Next, we’ll check through the pattern pieces for any mistakes and if everything seems okay, we will construct the garment out of muslin. If we are scheduled for a fitting that day, a model might come in and try on this muslin. Together, Paul and the interns will mark any changes that need to be made right onto the muslin. We will then transfer these changes to paper and make corrections to the original pattern. Eventually, we will use this corrected pattern to construct the final garment out of the fashion fabric. Some days I might run to the garment center to pick a couple things up, and others I might fuse facing to sheets of fabric- it just completely depends on the day!
RM: What is the most exciting thing you’ve done for your internship so far?
LG: So far, I have helped to set up for a sample sale in which we will be selling all of the sample-sized garments from previous collections. It was fun to see the operational side of the business, which was very different from the creative side that I am used to seeing in my internship. We will also be having a cocktail party to kick off this sample sale, which Paul’s previous interns will be attending. I am very excited to speak to them about their experiences with Paul, and where it ended up leading them once they graduated college.
RAW Magazine wishes you all the success, Leslie! Keep working hard, you’re doing amazing things. Keep up with Leslie and all her NY adventures on her Instagram, @bitchinstitchinxx
(L-R) Setting up for a sample sale to sell garments from previous collections | Graver sewing a muslin mock-up for Carroll's Spring/Summer 2019 collection | An outfit from one of Carroll's previous collections.