Why did you apply for the Garment Technology Intern role at Continental Textiles / South Beach?
I am studying BSc Fashion Technology at the University of Manchester and knew that, if I was going to do a placement, I wanted it to be in Garment Technology. Such placements are rare and the opportunity to intern at a company that works with many major high street and online retailers was too good to miss!
I was drawn to Continental Textiles as I knew they work across all product areas but are specialists in swimwear. I was excited at the prospect of being able to work on such a technical product (I’ve even had the opportunity to work on ski wear).
Continental Textiles is a smaller company compared to the majority of companies that offer placements, but I knew this would give me many more opportunities. With everything done in-house, you really get to see a fashion business as a whole!
As Continental Textiles is a wholesaler and offers MTO (made-to-order), we work as the head office, supplier and customer; this unique experience I would not have gained from many of the other placements on offer.
Photo of South Beach ski snow suit in recent campaign shoot
So far, what has been your favourite part of your day-to-day role?
I love the close contact I have with the product - every day I am handling samples! I have been trained in both garments and swimwear, gaining knowledge of the different measurements and fitting techniques. My latest skill is working in inches as well as cm/mm!
I have more recently had the opportunity to support our swim technologist. This has been great in developing my understanding of how different fabrics can affect the fit of swimwear and how precise measurements and alterations need to be made to fit the style to the body perfectly.
I don’t just handle products while they are with the tech team; I am able to see the product from buying and design, through tech, to merch and shipping. You really see the whole cycle!
The broad range of customers really keeps me on my toes. I find the different requirements for each customer so interesting, such as compliance to US vs EU, testing regulations and seeing how one brand grades their sizing compared to another.
My role is so varied; from fitting swim and approving care labels in the morning to measuring loungewear and analysis test reports in the afternoon!
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
It is so exciting being able to see the whole product cycle - from 1st fit sessions through to seeing the product on the ASOS website, for example. I look forward to seeing the amazing images consumers post wearing our product, it really brings them to life!
I am looking forward to furthering my knowledge in areas such as grading and possibly spending more time with Merch and Shipping to understand how the product finally reaches our customers.
I also just love seeing what products our talented team of Designers and Buyers develop; there are always such fun samples around the office!
Screenshot of South Beach swim on ASOS
What advice would you give to someone considering undertaking a placement year in the fashion industry?
I found it very challenging to find Garment Technologist placements. My first piece of advice is: don’t be afraid to email brands and propose the idea of them hiring an intern! It’s a great opportunity for you, but also for them.
Don’t rush into accepting a placement role just because you have been offered one. Make sure it is right for you and that you feel excited about it. A good measure of this is when people ask you about it or when you think about working there, how do you feel? When the advert for this placement opportunity came up, and I applied right away, after my first interview I knew it was the right placement for me as I felt that excitement. I suppose that’s a good way of deciding on a placement, are you actually excited to do it?
This placement has confirmed for me that I want to work as a Technologist. I have also developed a new interest in garment/fabric testing - something which I learnt nothing about at university! When I go into my final year, I want to focus my studies on this area and possibly even my career!
It’s the best decision I made.