$10,000 to be an unpaid fashion intern Oscar de la Renta and Balenciaga put high price on coveted work placements (but at least it's all for charity)
20:39 GMT, 23 October 2012
Targeting young fashionistas, who will do anything to get their foot in the door, Oscar de la Renta, Balenciaga, M Missoni and Valentino are auctioning off unpaid internships with pre-sale estimates of $10,000.
Working in collaboration with the auction site CharityBuzz, the fashion labels are offering month-long placements to deep-pocketed bidders, with all proceeds going to charity.
Balenciaga's summer 2013 work opportunity has attracted the most interest, with current bids reaching $1,350.
Scroll down for video
Revealing the life of a fashion intern: Anne Hathaway played the intern of a feisty Meryl Streep at a fashion magazine in The Devil Wears Prada
All four sales are open to students aged 18 and over, and winners will be announced next Tuesday.
The concept of unpaid internships has been hotly debated, and one commentator has branded the charity auction initiative as 'bloody cheeky'.
Bella Towse, who is studying at the University of the Arts, London, wrote on Facebook: 'Bloody cheeky I say. The amounts raised should at least be matched by the fashion houses.
'Having done several unpaid internships I know first hand how demanding they are and it fills like adding insult to injury if your a struggling student.
'Further evidence that fashion, as an industry, is for those with money.'
Job descriptions for each of the New York-based placements promise experience in the sales, press, merchandising or PR departments.
And for those expecting an easy four
weeks, they might want to reconsider, as the fashion industry is known
to be one of the most unforgiving and exhausting fields of work.
Melissa Reyes, who graduated from Marist
College with a degree in fashion merchandising secured an internship
with Diane von Furstenberg in Manhattan last year.
She told The New York Times that she often worked 9am to 9pm, five days a week and felt she was taken advantage of.
Up for grabs: Nicolas Ghesquire, the creative director of Balenciaga (left) and fashion designer Oscar de la Renta will accept the highest bidder as an intern
'They had me running out to buy them lunch… They had me cleaning out the closets, emptying out the past season’s items.' Miss Reyes said.
In compensation for their month of unpaid work, interns hired by Oscar de la Renta, Balenciaga, M Missoni and Valentino through the CharityBuzz auction will be given a school credit.
Balenciaga will also send its intern away with a designer handbag, many of which retail for $1,300 plus.
However this token of appreciation didn't impress one student.
'Glamorising unpaid internships and encouraging students to pay to do them is not helping
create jobs within fashion'
Laura Beth Dean, from the University of Brighton, added: 'Glamorising unpaid internships and (more significantly) encouraging students to pay to do them is not helping create jobs within fashion.
'How about Balenciaga and co. just give money to charity themselves, without fueling this internship trade that is allowing designers to create a business without ever having to employ anyone.'
The bid for the Oscar de la Renta
internship currently stands at $1,100, while the Valentino and M
Missoni lots are yet to receive interest.
All proceeds raised from the sales will go towards Rosie's Theater Kids, an organization dedicated to arts education.
It isn't the first time unpaid fashion internships have appeared on CharityBuzz.
In 2010 it was reported that one bidder paid $42,500 to spend a week interning for Anna Wintour at Vogue in a auction benefiting the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
The coveted Oscar de la Renta, Balenciaga, M Missoni and Valentino internships are only open to students aged 18 and over, who are enrolled at accredited colleges and universities.
VIDEO: CharityBUZZ-ers talk about favorite internships: