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Hiring a Fashion Designer

Starting a fashion business.

Anyone considering starting a fashion business is likely to be passionate about fashion design. Usually their reasons for starting the brand are that they  have their own design ideas that they would like to bring to life. Sometimes they know exactly what they want. Other times they are not too sure.

Maybe they  know what they want when they see it, but   cant sketch, or  convey their ideas adequately. They need to consider whether it is worth hiring a fashion designer.

The UK is  one of the world`s leading fashion centres. And London is home to world famous fashion schools, attracting many talented fashion students from all over the world. So hiring a fashion designer should be easy.

But there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself before hiring a fashion designer :-

What does a Fashion Designer do ?

A Fashion Designer`s job is very diverse. They have all sorts of roles that you may not have even considered.

A very important and time consuming part of the job  involves researching trends and competitors. This can mean many hours in front of a computer screen, or reading through fashion magazines,  or traipsing round  shops. Designers tend to buy a lot of clothes to use for inspiration for their own designs.

If they are employed by a large company they may have to travel to trade fairs and exhibitions. The company would probably pay for very expensive trend forecasting reports that they  couldnt afford if self-employed.

The ability to sketch is a very important part of the job. Most designers seem to have a very exaggerated, stylish way of drawing that  can make it a little difficult for an unfamiliar pattern cutter to interpret at first, otherwise it can be necessary to ask the designer if the designs should be taken literally.

But if the  designer is working remotely  from a pattern cutter  they need to be able to communicate their ideas more thoroughly. It is very expensive to have to keep making samples because of a lack of communication.

Usually the designer will be in charge of the fit sessions. This is where the samples are tried on the models for fit and style. This may be done with or without the pattern cutter.

A good designer will have a good eye for style and fit, along with an instinctive knowledge of what will sell. These are innate  abilities that are not learnt.

Do I need to employ a designer at all ?

Firstly, you need to decide whether you need to employ a designer at all if you have your own design ideas. Would it be cost effective for you ? It is perfectly possible to act as your own designer, but you would probably not be able to do all the peripheral work that a designer would normally be responsible for.

DIY designers tend not to understand garment construction. They dont know where darts and seams should be placed to create shaping. The pattern cutter will often have to redesign an amateur`s design so that it can be made.

Some designers will also be pattern cutters, although it is very rare to find a designer/ pattern cutter who is as good as two different specialists.

A fashion designer is also responsible for sourcing  fabrics and trims. This can be very time consuming for the amateur because they will  have to start from scratch. A professional designer should have a a big library of existing contacts to choose from. They should also be familiar with dealing with dealing with these suppliers.

What type of designer do I want ?

If you have decided to employ a designer, then do you want the designer to be full time or part time. ? Freelance, or employed ?  Normally startups would be employing a part time  freelancer, so we can assuming that is what you will be doing here.

What should my own role be ?

You need to know what your own role will be in the business. If you want to be the one providing the designs, then you may want to employ a designer who can sketch out your designs, or to take your designs and re-do them so that they are more practical.

You may just want a designer to source fabrics and trims for your designs. Or maybe you want to supply the materials and let the designer do the designing based on your guidance.

How much will it cost ?

 

Full-Time vs Freelance Designer ?

The new fashion entrepreneur needs to decide  whether to employ a  full-time designer, or a freelancer. Or whether it is necessary to employ a designer at all. Many startups prefer to provide their own designs. And often this is the best approach in the early stages. It takes a lot of money to support an in-house desgin team.

We at The London Pattern Cutter can work with your designer, or supply our own . As most of our clients are on a restricted budget, I would normally advise against employing a full-time designer because it can be very expensive. It is rarely  cost-effective unless you have  extensive funding. And even then a freelancer is probably a better choice.

It is not just the employment costs of a designer. The employer would also be expected to pay for very expensive trend forecasting reports as well as travel expenses involved in visiting fashion shows and exhibitions around the world. This sort of expense is only really affordable for companies with serious financial backing.

Sometimes it may be worth hiring a graduate to assist with designing duties.

PHONE – 07905-965-305

EMAIL – thelondonpatterncutter@gmail.com

How to find a good Designer

In the freelance world qualifications mean very little. All that counts is experience. A good portfolio will tell you a lot about the designer`s experience and abilities.

It is possible to employ a fashion designer through an agency. They would vet possible candidates, but obviously there would be an extra cost by way of commission  involved. And you may find that the agency will not go out of their way to find the best candidate  for you if you are not a big brand.

How much does a Freelance Designer cost ?

Just like with any other professional, the cost of hiring a freelance fashion designer can vary immensely. Most startup brands wont be looking at hiring the most expensive designers and shouldnt be considering hiring the cheapest, unless they are just looking for an assistant.

I would suggest that any startup hiring a designer should specifically  hire an experienced freelance designer – A designer who understands how to work with startups to get the best for them.

But should you be paying a flat rate for the project, a rate per sketch, or an hourly rate ?

 

If you rule out employing a full time designer, there are four  options to consider  :-Employ an independent freelance designer. This can be an option worth considering if the designer is very experienced as a freelancer and understands how the industry works. And if they specialise in the specific area of fashion that you are aiming for. It can also be  a very expensive option though. You would still need to employ a pattern cutter, and a pattern cutter is probably better value because they can act as a technical  adviser.

Use a one-stop shop such as The London Pattern Cutter.  We can take care of the entire project, or just the areas that you want us to take care of. Emile is our resident designer and has over twenty years experience as a fashion designer. He can work with you on your own designs, or provide the designs according to your instructions. He can also source all your fabrics and trims. This can be very time consuming if you are new to the fashion business. The pattern cutters know how to interpret his sketches  and Emile knows what information needs to be supplied to the pattern cutters in order to get it right first time round. This makes it more cost effective as making repeat samples can be expensive. This is certainly the best option if you are fully employed.

Do all of the designing and sourcing yourself. I wouldnt really recommend doing it all yourself, unless you really know what you are doing and you have a lot of free time.

A mix of the above two options.  If your talent is as a designer, then  you would be best to concentrate on the designing. The sourcing of fabrics and trims is very time consuming if you are unfamiliar with it, although we can help you by supplying a list of suppliers who are willing to supply small quantities to startups.

 

PHONE – 07905-965-305

EMAIL – thelondonpatterncutter@gmail.com

 

How to become a Freelance Designer

Fashion Designer and illustrator   full package service

degree

communication skills – manuf, clients, pc, factories,suppliers

Hiring a Freelance Fashion Designer

It is possible to get a job as a freelance designer without getting a degree, but it would be very difficult within a big company, especially today when there are far more graduates than there are jobs.

per sketch – f & b . negotiate for detaled views etc – specs

Fashion designers need to understand garment construction and they need to be able to convey their ideas to the pattern cutter

A freelancer may have to do many of the jobs that would have been done by specialists in a normal job. Rather than employ a pattern cutter, many designers will choose to make the patterns themselves. Some designers make very good pattern cutters. But while they can be very good at the arty, creative parts of pattern cutting, such as draping on the stand, they tend to lack the patience, accuracy and detail of a pattern cutter.

CAD

graphic design software

 

The importance of research

The importance of research cannot be over emphasised for a fashion  designer. It is doubly important for a freelance designer because you will not be surrounded by other fashion designers and other fashion colleagues.  You wont have the benefit of all the expensive research that a big company can afford to buy, or the dozens of magazines that you would be surrounded by in a fashion environment.

Finding work

How much is a freelance fashion designer ?

Working for large fashion companies makes it far easier to visit fashion shows and obtain expensive reports on trends

A very select few designers will be influential in influencing the major trends.

A fashion designer`s job is very diverse

The freelance fashion designer will take on independent projects

Some fashion designers will specialise in a particular area of fashion.

But freelance fashion design is a highly competitive field. industry

These days much of the time that used to be spent traipsing round high street shops is now spent in front of a computer screen instead.

To be successful as a freelancer

trend forecasting material

work history more important than degree

get everything in writing

study markets for market trends

Make sketches

source fabrics and trims

fit sessions

deal with the factories

 

Helping fashion startups since 1984