As growing numbers of fashion-focussed graduates tell us they are working for years unpaid (yes, really), Graduate Fog wonders: is anybody earning a decent wage in this industry? Or is the truth that most people working in fashion are being subsidised by a wealthy partner or parents?

London Fashion Week is well under way, with the well-heeled and expensively-dressed busy drooling over the new collections. But would the event run as smoothly without the thousands of fashion interns toiling day and night for no salary? In the past Graduate Fog has named and shamed Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and Balenciaga for using unpaid interns – and we know there are dozens more labels who do the same.

Getting your foot on the fashion ladder without serious financial help it seems impossible nowadays – as internships often last six months or longer, are usually in London and are almost always unpaid (or very low paid).

There are already signs that this is no longer a viable career option for graduates who have to pay their own bills. In New York, Fashion meets Finance parties have sprung up, where men working in financial services can meet women working in fashion (prospective attendees submit their salary and job title when they apply). It is just us, or is this kind of… yuck?

Does the same thing happen in the UK here, too? Boffins calling themselves “evolutionary economists” have noted that London has a weirdly large creative industry, considering how low-paid the work is — and they suspect it is linked to the capital’s large financial services sector.

In other words, is fashion no longer a viable career choice for anybody without a rich banker boyfriend (or daddy) to pay the rent?

Are you trying to break into fashion — and struggling to make ends meet? Are those who have ‘made it’ earning decent money — or is nobody earning a proper wage in this industry? Does the fashion industry need a new business model that doesn’t rely on unpaid interns?

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