The Guardian had a thought provoking and invaluable article concerning the use of intern-ships in the fashion industry this weekend.
Now not all intern work is bad and some companies have a wonderful system and structure. And it is not just the fashion industry that has an enormous pool of 'free' labour. The TV and film industries have exploited this for years.
The problem is it is completely unregulated and experiences are varied. Equally an intern-ship is no guarantee of a job nor does it constitute valid experience particularly when everyone else has done it.
When I was a 'yuff' it was called work experience or blagging yourself a gig. Disneyrollergirl ran a very useful post on how to break into the industry but again it is no guarantee of a job!