Thursday, June 24, 2010
Lingerie and Fashion Design: My Internship this Summer
This summer I am living in picturesque Newburyport, MA and working for Bennett & Company, a fashion design company that makes lingerie for retailers such as Frederick's of Hollywood and Victoria's Secret. Though I can't talk about what I do specifically for confidentiality reasons, I will rave on and on about how amazing this company is and how fantastic it is to work for them. A quick peek at their press page gives an overview of some of my favorite aspects of the company: words like "green," "spiritual," and "compassion" abound, accompanied by a myriad of gorgeous pictures of the woman behind the company, Jacalyn Bennett. Jacalyn founded her company in 1984 based in the idea of "a corporation with a conscience," embracing environmental initiatives, human rights and social conciousness. She looks to Gandi and Carl Jung as her inspirations, and her company is guided by the Ghandian principal that personal service “when it merges into universal service is the only service worth doing... service has to benefit all of humanity.” Bennett and Company employs 2,000 people total worldwide with factories in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and China. The employees at those factories are treated well and paid fairly, and the company factories recognize and follow ALL laws regarding wages, hours, etc as well as receiving benefits like healthcare, housing, welfare and maternity leave. Although many companies these days view outsourcing as an opportunity to pay next to nothing for cheap labour from imporverished populations, Bennett and Company sees it as an opportunity to change the lives of everyone it employs. Employees overseas are treated exactly the same as employees stateside, and everyone is made to feel equal and welcome within the company. (from here)
Jacalyn Bennett, company founder and my boss this summer, is a wonderful and inspiration woman who has received many awards and acheivements, including but not limited to the Best Designed Factory for Silk and Handwork from the Chinese Government. She is as kind and benevolent as she is a beautiful and sharply intelligent businesswoman. It is relieving to me, someone who has never worked within the fashion industry, to learn that not every successful female in the fashion industry is like the judgemental Devil Wears Prada stereotype. I have felt nothing but welcome in my experiences within the company so far, and Jacalyn is an inspiration to me as a successful female business owner who also goes against the grain to ensure that human rights and the wellbeing of the earth are respected and valued.
I am having a wonderful time working at the company and learning so much and I'm extremely grateful for this opportunity! Aside from working, I'm also having a blast exploring the Massachusets North Shore ... more on that coming soon!
disclaimer: I do not represent or speak for the company. My opinion is my own and does not reflect the opinion of the company. All facts and publicity photos are taken from the company's website.