In the exciting and ever-changing world of fashion, cultivating hands-on experience early on can be a pivotal stepping stone toward a vibrant and rewarding career. For high school students with an eye for style and a passion for fashion, internships offer a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the industry, honing their skills while gaining valuable insights. In this article, we list ten fashion-based internships tailored for high school students. These programs not only provide a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the fashion industry but also provide an opportunity for students to practice and celebrate their own art. Whether you are hoping to dive into design, marketing, or fashion journalism, these internships promise a hands-on, immersive experience that transcends the classroom.
URBN, the parent company of popular brands such as Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, and Free People, offers this 10-week paid internship program. As an intern, you will have the opportunity to research the latest style trends, study consumer data, and work on a team with like-minded creative individuals. Most URBN internships are based at the company's headquarters in the historic Philadelphia Navy Yard, but there is also the potential for remote opportunities. As a participant, you will gain practical experience in your chosen fashion field of interest while receiving a competitive hourly wage. Throughout the program, URBN interns cultivate leadership skills essential for success in a dynamic retail setting.
Application Deadline: 5 pm Friday, November 3rd, 2023
Location: Philadelphia Navy Yard
Cost: You will receive a “competitive hourly rate”, though the number is not disclosed online
Eligibility: Must be a junior or senior in high school
Duration & Dates: 10 Weeks, from June 3 – August 9, 2024
This Way ONward is designed to offer high school students initial employment opportunities, coupled with mentorship to transform their aspirations into reality. It collaborates with local Old Navy stores, prioritizing service to Black and Latinx communities. The program is geared towards teens aged 16 and above and focuses on facilitating exposure to retail careers, equipping you with job readiness skills, and offering coaching and support throughout the entire hiring process. As an intern with This Way ONward, you will learn under a one-on-one mentorship program with on-the-job skill-building practices. Your mentors integrate the lessons they themselves have learned to provide the right support for the success and comfort of retail store employees. It is essentially a training program for those interested in retail, you will learn leadership skills while learning through real-life work experiences with local Old Navy stores.
Application Deadline: It is an ongoing, year-round program
Location: Remote or at your local Old Navy store
Cost: There are no fees
Eligibility: Must be between the ages of 16-24
Duration & Dates: Year-round, two-hour workshops from Monday-Thursday
This internship is listed solely for high school seniors as it is marketed towards incoming college first years. This internship is online and focuses on providing you with practical experience in tackling customer insights through a week-long case study. As a participant, you will learn the process of generating data, finding consumer patterns, and developing actionable business solutions. You will also get the opportunity to hear from Abercrombie and Fitch’s leaders on both their business and fashion beliefs and ideas. The Freshman Forum is designed to pique your interest in a career in corporate retail through an immersive training program consisting of classroom-style training, hands-on learning, and lessons from senior leaders.
Application Deadlines: Application deadline and Summit event dates will be announced in the Spring 2024 semester
Eligibility: 2027 High school graduate
Duration & Dates: Week-long during summer 2024 (though the specific dates are not yet listed)
The Fashion Institute of Technology (or FIT) program is set up a bit differently than the other internships listed in this article. With FIT, you will be provided the unique opportunity to expand your horizons across the multiple factors of the fashion world while getting to visit New York City. Some examples include art, fashion, merchandising, international marketing, photography, interior design, film and media. Along with this wide variety, you are able to choose between 10-day classes or 4-day workshops in the fall, spring, or summer. This flexibility is part of what makes FIT’s program so unique and worth mentioning. As an intern, you will be put in a classroom-like setting, learning what you want to learn from mentors and leaders in their specific fashion fields.
Application Deadlines: Classes will be posted in January 2024
Location: FIT’s NYC Campus
Cost: One, 10-day class is $550.00 (with all fees)
Eligibility: Students in grades 9 through 12 as of fall 2024
Duration & Dates: 10-Day Summer Workshop: March 2024-June 2024
The Fashion Academy at LIM College focuses students’ studies on the business side of fashion, teaching a range of topics from fashion merchandising and marketing, visual studies, and fashion media to styling, event management, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. The academy has created an individual, personal, and hands-on environment. This design enables students to actively experience the fashion business while simultaneously gaining valuable insights into fashion as a potential career path. With weeklong credit and non-credit courses, participants are granted the opportunity to study fashion at the college level, experience the life of fashion in New York City either in person or virtually, and also get a taste of life at LIM.
Application Deadline: N/A
Location: LIM’s Campus in NYC or remote
Cost: Varies depending on which courses you take, see here
Eligibility: Must be a junior or senior in high school
Duration & Dates: Varies depending on which courses you take, see here
In an academically rigorous and artistically stimulating three-week summer program, Parson’s School of Design offers you the opportunity to study art and design with world-class faculty while living in and experiencing the creative inspiration of New York City. Parsons School of Design/The New School, located in Manhattan, is one of the top design schools in the world- as a participant, you will learn from key guest speakers in the fashion industry. Though for the three-week program, there is a cost of $4,675. This program is similar to FIT’s summer program, as its courses are tailored to high schoolers and feature skill-building project-based learning. As an intern, you will be learning the ins and outs of art and design while building a competitive portfolio.
Application Deadlines: Session 1: May 15, 2023, Session 2: June 8, 2023
Location: Parsons' NYC Greenwich Village campus
Cost: $4,675 plus fees
Eligibility: Must be 16-18 years old
Duration & Dates: Three Weeks, Session 1: June 12–30, 2023; Session 2: July 10–28, 2023
The Pratt Institute, one of the country’s best art and design schools, hosts this four-week, full-time program at its Brooklyn campus in New York. The program itself offers students two fashion-forward studio courses, workshops, and the opportunity to visit local cultural institutions. These interactive courses offer an opportunity to delve into the wide array of majors offered at Pratt. Taught by Pratt faculty, the majority of these classes make use of cutting-edge equipment, studio spaces, and classrooms located throughout the campus to ensure students get the full college experience during their summer stay. As an intern, you will engage in rigorous college-level courses to further develop your skills and creative voice. The courses also offer an opportunity for you to create portfolio pieces for college admission while earning elective college credits.
Application Deadlines: March 1st 2023
Location: The Pratt Institute’s Brooklyn campus
Eligibility: Between 16-18 years old.
Duration & Dates: Four Weeks from Monday, July 8 – Friday, August 2, 2024
Texas Woman’s University Teen Fashion Design Camp’s slogan is “It is never too early to develop a passion for fashion!” as it offers its services to all ages, from nine years old to eighteen. The 5-day program itself places emphasis on campers acquiring creative fashion skills. As a member, you will learn the basics of sewing and apparel construction, complemented by additional projects covering fashion sketching, trend board development, design concepts, textiles, color theory, and the production of fashion shows. The camps will be guided by faculty from the TWU Fashion program and local professionals in the fashion industry, with support from undergraduate fashion students who will assist both instructors and campers throughout each day.
Application Deadlines: Session one: June 11, Session two: July 23
Location: Texas Woman’s University’s Denton campus
Eligibility: Must be between 13-18 years old
Duration & Dates: Five days, June 19-23, 2023
What sets Banson NYC apart from the rest of this list is how it was created solely to “provide students with a ‘real life’ tour experience of the fashion industry in New York City”. Holland Grumieaux, the President and founder of Banson, has been in the fashion industry for over 20 years and personally designs the campers’ 1-5 day itineraries to complement their learning experience in the classroom. Banson NYC will take you behind the scenes of the fashion industry by providing an insider’s perspective into the fundamentals of the fashion field. During their sessions, Banson’s program takes students to meet major names in the fashion industry and provides them with the opportunity to stay in a dorm room with another Banson NYC student. Banson’s program ensures that you and your advisors are exposed to many different aspects of your field of study during your time by touring major showrooms to meet designers, sales managers, retail planning analysts, production managers, and merchandising executives.
Application Deadlines: N/A
Location: Banson’s NYC campus
Eligibility: Students in 9th through 12th grade
Duration & Dates: Five days, Session A: 6/23/24 – 6/28/24 Session B: 7/14/24 – 7/19/24
The Rhode Island School of Design’s Pre-College Program hosts a five-week long, college-level curriculum with day-long studio classes, and visits to the Nature Lab and RISD Museum. These courses are designed to provide critiques and projects to help shape your own art and design, as well as help you determine if fashion is the career path you’d like to take. This residential program takes students who want to study art and design in college and helps them produce portfolio-level work while enjoying the sights and sounds of Rhode Island’s historic capital city. You’ll work alongside hundreds of other creative and highly motivated individuals from around the world and will, together, inspire and encourage each other to push your limits and produce your best work. As a student of the program, you will get to live as a RISD student, with access to the same resources and instructors.
Application Deadlines: February 1st, 2023
Location: Rhode Island School of Design’s campus in Providence, Rhode Island
Eligibility: Rising high school juniors and seniors
Duration & Dates: Five weeks, from June 24th-July 29th
Lumiere Research Scholar Program
If researching fashion, art, or programs like the ones listed above interests you, you could also consider applying to the Lumiere Research Scholar Program, a selective online high school program for students founded with researchers at Harvard and Oxford. Last year, we had over 4000 students apply for 500 spots in the program! You can find the application form here.
Mandy Brenner is a current junior at Harvard University. She is concentrating in History and Literature and loves to read and write in her free time.