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Qualifications needed to be a Freelance Fashion Designer

While basic skills such as a good eye for detail and colour, an appreciation of beauty and an intimate understanding of the design process, including sewing and pattern making skills, are essential. However, some clients may not consider working with you unless you have a degree or City & Guilds qualification.

In addition, you will need an impressive portfolio of future proof desgins including colours and fabrics which should be chosen to reflect the colours, notion and textiles of the fashion industry in up to 18 months time. This is particularly important for your first few projects, as you begin to develop your reputation and relationships within the fashion industry.

Networking is fundamental in the fashion industry. Potential clients are often met at trade shows, so excellent communication skills will be fundamental in securing contracts. You will also be frequently communicating with manufacturers, suppliers and customers.

How to Find Work as a Freelance Fashion Designer

While trade shows are one place to find potential clients, most contracts are found through word of mouth. But in order to be a successful freelance fashion designer, you need the credentials and not just a portfolio. Ongoing work and constant relationship building will help to get your name and your designs in as many high profile places as possible.

There is a thriving fashion community online in the form and countless bloggers. And the best way to engage with this influential audience is through a blog of your own. Many bloggers take a daily selfie and write up about what they’re wearing to where, when and why. It’s easy to see what works and follow the trends, but showcase your own unique and eye catching clothing.

You can also post your collection of clothing for sale at online boutiques including Etsy, Pretty Little Thing and even ASOS, which have enormous audiences.

Other marketing channels include local magazines, local newspapers who can write a piece on you and your brand (or a local fashion show you are showcasing at), usually with the help of some freebies for the journalist writing the article. The same goes for the leading fashion bloggers who are always eager for new additions to their wardrobes and will gladly review your pieces if they’re desirable enough.

Once you become established, it will be easier to secure contracts based on the quality of your work and the happiness of your customers. Over the past few years there has a been a boom in freelance marketplaces and these are ideal when starting out, as they give you access to many opportunities which previously you may have struggled to find. A few of these include:

  • The Rag Trader
  • People Per Hour
  • Creative Pool

Personal Appearance

More so than any other freelance profession, as a fashion designer your personal appearance matters. Wear your clothing everywhere, look the part and stand out from the crowd in confidence and style. You will be competing with other freelance fashion designers doing exactly the same. But the important thing to remember is that you are your clothing and your clothing is your personal brand. So you must represent your work at all times.

Rates of Pay for Freelance Fashion Designers

A recent poll by All Art School revealed that almost a quarter of all fashion designers are freelance. This obviously brings risks, as competition for contracts could be high. However this is the same as any freelance position and carries the same problems and benefits. Please visit our pages on the advantages and disadvantages of becoming a freelancer.

The rates of a freelance fashion designer can vary from £100 to £1,000 per day, depending on your experience and the nature of the project. Often projects in this industry are carried out at a set price, which will be negotiated at the beginning of a project. Visit our freelancer take home pay calculator page, to work out your average take home pay.

Benefits of Self Employed

Of course, there are many benefits to being a self employed freelance fashion designer, from creative freedom to choosing who you work with and when, to being able to claim expenses on travel and entertaining.

Having made the decision to give it a go, whether full or part time, and whether to set up as a sole trader or limited company, you’ll also need to consider whether or not you need an accountant to help keep your books in order and advise on a huge range of topics from what you can reasonably claim on expenses to hiring employees and sub-contracting.

You may also find the following guides useful:

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