British Fashion Houses Face Wrath Over Intern Exploitation

Submitted by on Saturday, 10 December 2011 | No Comment

If, like many other students, you’ve taken on work experience or internship placements, then you’ll know exactly how expensive, tiring and exhausting it is and how very little rewards there are. Along with the Journalism and Political industries, the fashion industry is known for taking on interns to help at prestigious fashion events and fashion houses.

Now, for working full time hours, you’d expect them to receive the same benefits as many of the company’s staff, but unfortunately interns are very rarely paid and often exploited, being asked to do tasks that nobody else will do and working excessive hours.

Recently, there has been a huge surge in support for Interns and ‘workies’ thanks to the likes of Intern Aware and the NUS organisations; and now the HM Revenue & Customs have deemed it neccessary to get involved.

It has been revealed that 100 British fashion houses have been warned by HM Revenue & Customs ahead of February’s London Fashion Week 2012. HMRC have said that they have received evidence of well known fashion labels exploiting interns and not paying them national minimum wage for their work.

Letters have been sent to the fashion houses, Michelle Wyer, HMRC’s assistant director for the NMW (national minimum wage) said: “These letters give fashion houses plenty of warning that they are under scrutiny. If they are not playing by the rules, now is the time to put things right. Non-payment of the national minimum wage is not an option. Our message is clear: don’t wait for us to come knocking on your door; put things right now and avoid a penalty and possible prosecution.”

Of course, the names of the British fashion houses haven’t been revealed but their is expected to be a change come the new year. Let us know if you’ve been exploited as an Intern and what you think about the issue over on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

*Image courtesy of

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