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14-11-2008
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Iulia's Avatar
 
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All About Freelance Fashion Designers
Hello all!

First of all, let me just say that I've been reading most of the posts and I've found some very helpful information in here.

To start off, let me just tell you a bit about myself, so you understand where I'm coming from. I've been interested in the fashion industry for years now (especially in haute couture). When I was in highschool I took a 2-year course in fashion design in my hometown which helped a lot in the drawing techniques aspect. Although I wanted to apply to the Fashion Design School of the Art University in my country, my parents thought that it wasn't the best option for me. So, instead, I followed the courses of the Computer Science Univercity. Nevertheless, I never stopped drawing sketches and staying up-to-date with the latest collections of my favourite designers (using www.firstview.com as a reference), and never stopped hoping that in time I would be able to work in this industry, or maybe even start a business of my own. I also have sewing skills, which I learnt from my mother, who's been making clothes for the two of us as a hobby.

And here I am today... reading your advice... and learning that probably the best way to start out in the fashion industry is to attend a fashion design university. Which, obviously, is too late for me since I can't keep up with my current job and classes at the same time. This, of course, limits my chances of getting hired as a fashion desgner / assistant.

Recently I've started making clothes for my friends.... and their friends... and their friends... and so on , again with the help of my mother. I'm also trying to set up a website to promote my activity and I'm also considering selling sketches to other fashion designers, which brings me to my point.

So, has any of you done this? And if so, can you give me some advice?

Below I uploaded the first sketch that I made using Adobe Illustrator. I would be also very grateful if you could give me some opinions about it. (I would have posted more of my work, but the quality of scanned sketches is not that great).

Thanks a lot!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg sketch01_mod1_resize_resize.jpg (97.7 KB, 6 views)

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14-11-2008
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This thread mey be useful:
http://www.thefashionspot.com/forums...eer-34310.html

You can also go to the art & design section, there's a thread where you can post your illustrations. The DIY section also has some threads on illustration that you could visit.

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14-11-2008
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Welcome to the Fashion Spot, Iulia!

There is also this thread where you should post your designs (if you actually designed what you are sketching) to get feedback on the design itself. And there is this thread about the actual process of fashion illustration ... the how to's and the materiels needed.

Aside from that ... I don't think that a designer would buy a sketch of something that someone else designed. And if you are talking about sketching their designs and selling those back to them ... you need to understand that designers normally sketch their own work, or hire a fashion illustrator to sketch their own line if they want something more ornate than their own sketches. Is that what you are talking about ... becoming a fashion illustrator? If it is ... then you should read and post in that thread that Hana pointed out.

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Last edited by BetteT; 14-11-2008 at 02:13 PM.
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14-11-2008
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Thanks for the replies. I may have not expressed myself corectly. By selling sketches to a fashion designer I actually meant selling them to a fashion house. And more than selling the drawing itself, selling the actual idea that lies behind the sketch, since i don't consider myself an actual fashion illustration. In other words, I guess this could be called a free-lancer fashion designer.

Personally, I just like to do each part involved in the process of clothes designing and manufacturing in the best possible way (from coming up with a design, putting it on paper / computer, making the pattern and developing the item). So, I'm not solely into fashion illustration, I just look at it as a way of "saving" my ideas.

I'm definetely going to read the posts that you suggested.

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14-11-2008
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Well, I'm not an expert, but don't design houses already have designers hired/on staff to come up with designs? I have never heard of a freelance fashion designer ... but then, maybe someone else has.

I think that I will change the title of your thread to something other than "Selling Sketches to Fashion Designers". A better title might catch the eye of someone who knows something about freelance designers and if there is such a thing.

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Last edited by BetteT; 14-11-2008 at 08:27 PM.
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15-11-2008
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yes, freelance designers DO exist.

I know, because I am one of them. It depends on what country/market you are in, but in my experience freelance designers are hired on contract for a season. The house will ask you to make designs to their specifications (ie a theme, or perhaps they will just ask you to design jackets, or accessories).

The house will pay either a project fee to you, or pay-per-design that they buy. In this case, you give up your rights to ever use that design again.

The best case scenario is you negotiating to get a percentage of what is sold as well. But this only works if you are a big name designer, ie the brand collaborations or celebrity `designers` (it could be said these celebs are `freelance` deisgners)

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15-11-2008
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mishahoi ... been missing you around here! I did not know that you did that too! Thanks for sharing ... I learned something here ... and hopefully it answers Iulia's question.

But do you get more involved than just providing sketches of the ideas? Where do they take over to produce a design?

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Last edited by BetteT; 15-11-2008 at 12:08 PM.
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15-11-2008
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Freelance designers definitely exist. 24/7 tends to list jobs for freelancers.

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16-11-2008
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In my case, I design for a company, according to their target (or perhaps, they want to test for expanding their target, and hire someone like me with fresh ideas to come and try to design some things.)

I show up with a handful or several dozen designs, and they pick the ones they like best and buy the rights to them. Techinically, the contract should end there. I take a smaller `rights` fee and instead get percentages on the pieces sold.

I get called in as the samples are being made to check for accuracy, go in and choose fabrics etc as well.

But I am not an official `employee`. You could almsot say it is `consulting`. I do not make the clothes as there are artisans and `petit mains` to do this, but the dressmakers cannot design themselves out of a paper bag thats where designers for hire come in

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16-11-2008
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thanks betteT - actually, first and foremost I am a journalist! but in this day and age, it seems almost outdated (or very difficult) to sustain one profession only-especially in fashion.

I think `freelance designers` are a part of the new industry..the companies dont want to take as many chances now by committing to one designer, and the designers dont want to be tied down to one place.

my attention span can only handle so much pulling apart however

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16-11-2008
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Hi, first of all, thank you Mishahoi for you explanation, i've learnt something new.
And about freenlance designers, well, i know a woman that "copies" others designs from well known houses, changes them a bit and then she goes to the boutiques and sells them. I don't know if that counts as a freenlance designer, but well, that's her job.
And i don't know what happens about the copyright either *shrugs*

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26-11-2008
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Thanks Mishahoi for providing such interesting details!

And _Andrea, personally I don't consider that the woman you described an actual fashion designer (freelamcer or not). In my opinion fashion design is all about your ideas, not about copying other people's work.

Of course, by having a bunch of favourite designers and staying up to date with their newest collections (and older too, for that matter), you may find yourself sharing the same guideline with those designers. I myself, felt in a way proud that for a few times I found some ideas from very old sketches of mine (the way that a part of a dress was draped for example) in pieces of a my favourite designers' last season collection. That gives me great confidence in myself, and in my work. Sharing the same vision with a designer should increase the chances of a possible collaboration.

Has something like this ever happened to you?

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26-11-2008
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How do you get business as a freelance designer? Do you go to, say Calvin Klein's NYC office and offer your designs? Or how does it work?

I'm applying for the associates degree in fashion design at FIT in NYC so after school I would like to go into my career. I've been looking at the job openings for fashion designers and everyone seems to want a 4-year degree student.

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27-11-2008
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this is great
& i've been seeing lately a number of posts on the Craigslist website
for short-term designers

theatre houses
hospitals, specialty areas


-

other available positions include:
-pattern maker
-textile design: colourist / prints / knit+weave
(last one's a bit rare imo)

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28-11-2008
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payment
oh a good book to check out is called Graphic Artists Guild Handbook
it is geared towards illustrators/graphic designers
but you get a good sense of how everything works, in terms of pricing/payment

misahoi
wrote about getting a percentage of the profit sold, but that some companies would buy the artwork completely (and you don't get any money after that, considering they end up selling a lot of your designs). the book will give you ideas for this kind of situation, such as increasing your prices to make up for this...

The company I work for also says they don't like doing paying percentages --they call it "commission." They would rather buy all of the rights, everything of an artwork
They even tweak the designs, sometimes giving it away to another company too.
I was told it is a hassle when you're a company who has many designers and new ones coming in...

I guess it is up to you and how 'close' you are to your work

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