Intern Sues Fashion House Alexander McQueen Over Unpaid Work

Image for article titled Intern Sues Fashion House Alexander McQueen Over Unpaid Work

A former intern is suing the fashion house founded by the late designer Alexander McQueen over wages she says she owed for four months of work.


According to The Guardian, the lawsuit refers to an internship that took place four years ago:

Rachel Watson – not her real name but the one her lawyers want used – is claiming up to £6,415 in "lost wages" and says the fashion house broke the law by not paying her the national minimum wage. Watson's internship in 2009-10 included drawing artwork for embroidery, repairing embellished clothing, and dyeing large quantities of fabric.

Watson's lawyer, Wessen Jazrawi, from Hausfeld & Co LLP, says that when interns do "real work under a contract", they should be entitled to be paid at least the national minimum wage.

Watson said she took the internship because it was the only way she could see to break into the industry, which is pretty much why anyone would agree to do an internship in the first place.

"I quickly realised I was being exploited," she said via a statement through her lawyer. "How could I confront my employer at the time when they held all the cards to my future in the industry?"

A spokesperson for Alexander McQueen responded to the lawsuit: "We understand this relates to an intern who was with us four years ago. We had no idea until now that she had any concern about the time she spent at Alexander McQueen."

This isn't the first time the fashion house has made headlines regarding their use of interns:

Last year Alexander McQueen's fashion house was forced publicly to apologise about an unpaid internship, after University of the Arts London student union president Shelly Asquith brought attention to its advert for a "talented knitwear student" to work five days a week for up to 11 months, without a wage. McQueen said the advert was "issued in error and was not in accordance with our HR policy".


Image via Getty Images.



As a person who did unpaid internships, I hate these lawsuits. I also worked 5 days a week, at least 9 hours a day, sometimes longer. And I did that for a Congressman. I.e. the people who write these laws (most congressmen and senators have internship programs, and the majority are unpaid). I gained invaluable experience that I never would have had had there not been an internship available. They weren't going to hire me when I was still in school, and even if they hired me after I graduated, I would have been much more prepared for the job after being an intern. It is sad to me that these lawsuits might make those experiences obsolete in the future.