“It started quite organically, talking with friends and making prints for people.” – Alix Higgins
With each job comes more wisdom, learning a rhythm in an otherwise irregular lifestyle. “At the beginning, you get sent a brief, and I then spend one day to organise myself, meeting with the company to talk through everything, and ask any questions and estimate what you need to do, which will inform the fee that you need to give to the company for the job,” shares Wawrzynczak. With milestone meetings in between, the irregular schedule promising bounds of allotted time doesn’t solely have to be a self-determining interim, as each freelancer tackles the solitude differently. On the contrary, Alix Higgins, who has recently begun freelancing, designing for Marine Serre, Amy Crookes and Maroske Peech navigates the sporadic nature by relying on a permanent role alongside Higgins’ freelancing work. “I needed something to fill the time outside of my part-time job and I always thrive when managing multiple projects. It started quite organically, talking with friends and making prints for people.” Regulating a work-life balance is seminal to the freelance grind which Higgins helps manifest through the 9-5 regime of part-time work. “I’m forced to be quite structured between freelance projects, my job, and my own label. I balance my day job with freelancing in the evenings and on weekends, which at times becomes quite busy. With time zones I am often calling Paris after going out on a Friday in Sydney so work becomes…. creative.”
Relying on alternative income strategies encourages versatility with clients and the open-ended nature was appealing for Fiona Blakeman who got her footing during employment at Celine. “Matthew Williams contacted me and asked if I would be interested in assisting him on fabric and print with his then newly founded brand Alyx. This was a fantastic opportunity to transition into a more senior role but also meant I would be on a freelance contract. As Alyx became more established I was able to take on more freelance clients such as Wales Bonner and Charlotte Knowles and have been continuing to expand my client base ever since.” For each pattern and design freelancer, the artistry in maintaining the balancing act comes through accepting that no day is ever quite the same. “The role I have created for myself is quite varied. This week I’ve been in the print room screen printing directly onto garments for an upcoming menswear show, drawing prints from scratch and art working for a digital print development, and also assisting the print team at JW Anderson as they needed an additional print person for a particular development this season,” shares Blakeman. There is no such quota for an ‘average’ day, particularly in the early stages of freelancing with a broader roster of clients that bring the promise of work.
“When I was freelancing I was saying yes to all the jobs; any new freelancer will tell you that. Freelancing is great but it’s also unsteady and you can’t afford to be picky.” – Joanna Wawrzynczak