Published on October 31, 2012 | by Morgana Edwards

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Fashion internship auction

Chauffeur with sports car outside Valentino shop

UK students can bid for US internships [Oliver creamer]

Students in the United Kingdom are being allowed to bid for unpaid internships in major United States fashion houses in a charity auction.

Missoni, Valentino, Balenciaga and Oscar de la Renta are among the companies auctioning off the one-month work placements, in conjunction with the website CharityBuzz.

The global charity auction site auctions everything from ‘meet-and-greets’ with celebrities to tickets to exclusive events with the proceeds going to a number of charitable causes.

In 2011 the company told the BBC that it intended to open offices in London following the successful auctions of a number of unpaid internships.

The proceeds of the internship auction will be donated to charity, with all money raised going to an American organisation ‘Rosie’s Theater Kids’, a charity which supports arts education programmes.

One week

CharityBuzz has auctioned this kind of high profile fashion internships in the past.

It was reported that in 2012, around £26,500 was paid by one bidder to spend just one week interning with American Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Gus Baker, the founder of Intern Aware, which campaigns for fair internships was highly critical of the auction: “Unpaid internship auctions are grotesque. Auctioning privilege to the highest bidder is a recipe for social division and exclusion of talented people who can’t afford to work for free.

“Balenciaga may be a high fashion brand, but I find it hard to see how they look themselves in the mirror each morning,” he said.

The fashion brands will not be donating any money directly, despite suggestions they should match the amount of the winning bid.

 Valentino made a profit of over £6 million in 2011.

In August 2011, Oscar de la Renta was described by Daily Finance as ‘America’s most expensive store.’

The positions are only available to students aged 18 or over who can provide proof they are enrolled at an accredited university or college.

Those who succeed in gaining a place will be compensated for their time with credits going towards their degree or relevant qualification.

The winners will be announced on November 6.

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