An intern or assistant only does grunt work, anyway (running errands, steaming clothing, light sewing, carrying wardrobe around, keeping things organized, etc.) So they just need to show that they are prepared to work hard ... it's really physical work. The creative work will still be done by the stylist. I know that a portfolio is not important to me for someone to assist.
However, if you are at the level that you might want to assist (paid) agency stylists from time to time ... the agency will expect you to have some real experience under your belt and will want to see a developed portfolio (probably with tear sheets and some client work in it).
Last edited by BetteT; 15-02-2007 at 12:01 PM.