Alexander McQueen apologizes for unpaid intern vacancy

The British design house of Alexander McQueen has apologized for advertising a university internship that was full time without any pay in London. The advertisement was passed around different design colleges and fashion colleges in London and specifically asked for a ‘knitwear student’ to apply to work five days a week nine hours per day for almost a year. It also stated that there was no pay for the job although travel expenses and lunch vouchers would be given out.

President of the University of the Arts London Student Union, Shelly Asquith, saw the advertisement and was angered by the McQueen’s blatant abuse of student workers. Asquith then decided to write the design house a letter which is what eventually spawned the apology.

In her letter she wrote that students have enough of a financial burden attempting to study and earn a degree in arts and design but to request them to also work for nothing but lunch vouchers while doing so is absurd. She also noted that it is very ironic that one jacket from the McQueen collection is worth enough to pay almost an entire year’s worth of university fees, but paying a student would be too much.

McQueen responded to the letter stating that the advert was somehow published erroneously and that it goes against their human resources policy. The design house stated that they only take interns requiring a placement that is considered part of their higher education plan.

Asquith spoke publicly after the incident claiming that unpaid work is a large problem within the fashion industry with many students forced to work for free if they want to get any type of experience. She explained that until the practice is exposed at a great level it will be hard to get the law properly enforced.