Getting IN: Fashion PR Internship with Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA)


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The CFDA is truly a family and I couldn’t describe the company in any other way. I remember listening to Diane Von Furstenburg say those words at the CFDA Fashion Awards only a week after starting my internship and immediately knew it was true. – Kelsi Rosenberg

Kelsi Rosenberg may be born and raised in Florida but she couldn’t resist the draw of New York City and the fast-paced fashion world after hearing stories from her mother about working in the fashion industry. To date she has interned for several companies including Linda Gaunt Communications and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). In love with the energy of fashion and PR, Kelsi looks forward to the next opportunity to return to the city to gain additional career experience.

What is your background?

I’ve lived in Florida my entire life but I have always been a New York city girl at heart. My mom’s stories about working in the Garment Center and attending FIT years go inspired me to pursue a career in the fashion industry. After high school I decided to stay in state for college. I am now a junior at the University of Central Florida studying Public Relations. After completing my freshman year, one of my best friends convinced me to intern with her in New York City for the summer. It ended up one of the best decisions I ever made. My first internship was at Linda Gaunt Communications and this past summer I interned at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Currently I am a social media intern for College Fashionista, a college fashion website that focuses on street style at over 250 campuses worldwide. I look forward to heading back to the Big Apple this summer for my last internship!

Why Fashion PR?

I believe it takes a certain type of person to be cut out for the fashion PR industry and I always knew that I was that girl. Fashion fascinates me, whether I am glancing at a magazine, watching a designer documentary or simply reading my favorite blogs. For me, there is no greater feeling than seeing your client featured in a major fashion publication, knowing you helped secure the placement. After learning the basics of the fashion PR industry from Linda Gaunt Communications, I never thought twice about my future career. I have been lucky enough to assist at Spring 2011 and 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. The feeling that I get every time I watch a designer’s show come together is indescribable.

How did you land your position?

I landed my position with the CFDA by simply going after a dream. Everything about the CFDA fascinated me and it still does to this day. After finding the PR manager’s email online, I contacted her about internship opportunities and sent along my resume. A phone interview was not suitable for the position, so I flew to NYC for the interview. A few hours later, I received an email offering me the internship position. My experience proves that it’s not impossible to land the internship of your dreams!

What is an example of a typical day in the office?

My first week at the CFDA was far from typical. I started the same week as the CFDA Fashion Awards, so that was my focus at the beginning. Being thrown into the internship at that time gave me a feel for the industry and I loved every second of it. Soon after, my daily routine revolved around social media and PR. I began to fall in love with the social media aspect of the industry was lucky enough to learn from the best, Christine Olsen. Every morning I browsed WWD, searched online for the latest news about CFDA members, checked the Twitter and Tumblr pages, and followed up on the press log. However, there is no typical day when you’re working in PR. One day I could walk into the office and be asked to deliver something to Vogue, while the next day assisting with the final meetings for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists. I knew whenever I walked into the CFDA, there was always something exciting going on.

What are your responsibilities?

My responsibilities varied on a daily basis. I mainly focused on the PR and Social Media aspect of the company. I looked through magazines for features on our members or CFDA related events. I stayed up to date with social media platforms such as Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. A big portion of my responsibilities entailed updating our member’s contact information and working on different projects and events.

What is a recent success story you have been a part of?

As the social media intern for CollegeFashionista, I assist with our monthly Twitter Party’s called #FashionTalk where all 300+ Style Gurus (contributors) and fans come together. My job is to lead the conversation to add excitement to these chats. In the past, College Fashionista has invited Eva Chen from Teen Vogue, StyleCaster and Jac Cameron from Madewell to moderate. For December’s #FashionTalk, I introduced the founder of College Fashionista, Amy Levin, to CFDA Social Media Special Events and Public Relations Manager, Christine Olsen, in hopes that the CFDA would be the next moderator. I couldn’t be more excited that the two collaborated for #FashionTalk in December’s December.

What challenges are attached to your job?

I am horrible with names, so it wasn’t easy at the start of my internship to deliver mail on a daily basis! Also, we had many projects that involved working with Photoshop and I had no prior experience with the program. It was challenging and slightly frustrating when I couldn’t complete a task, but thankfully the other PR intern was a Photoshop pro. Immediately after completing my internship I signed up for a Photoshop class at school. For any other PR interns, I strongly suggest learning the program.

What aspects of the job requirements were a surprise to you?

One of the summer projects involved transferring previous recordings of CFDA Fashion Awards from VHS to DVDs. Little did I know how difficult it was to set up a VHS to DVD converter. It only took a few hours, numerous customer service calls and two interns to finally get the device workin! But, it made me realize that each and every task is just as important as the next.

In a few words, how would you summarize your agency?

The CFDA is truly a family and I couldn’t describe the company in any other way. I remember listening to Diane Von Furstenburg say those words at the CFDA Fashion Awards only a week after starting my internship and I knew it was true then. For being such a small company, they accomplish more than I could ever imagine. Each person is an extremely hard worker and not because they have to be, but because they simply love what they do. I can’t express how lucky I was to have had this opportunity and work alongside people that continue to inspire me every day.

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Crosby Noricks

Crosby Noricks

Known as the “fashion publicist’s most powerful accessory,” (San Diego Union-Tribune) and the “West Coast ‘It’ girl of fashion PR,” (YFS Magazine) Crosby Noricks put fashion public relations on the digital map when she launched PR Couture in 2006. She is the author of Ready to Launch: The PR Couture Guide to Breaking into Fashion PR, available on Amazon. A decade later, Crosby is a successful fashion marketing strategist who spends her time championing PR Couture's growth and mentoring fashion publicists through her signature online course PRISM. Learn more about opportunities to work directly with Crosby at her website