Case study

Freelance design assistant — Rachel Page

Rachel loves being creative and working on different design projects across three top brands. Find out how she's developing her career as a fashion design assistant

How did you get your job as a design assistant?

I recently graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a BA Hons in Fashion Design with a sandwich year. During my placement, which I gained through my university's placement office, I worked for John Lewis.

They then offered me a position upon graduation.

Opportunities aren't that common so when you get one make sure you grab it, no matter what it is

What's a typical day like?

I do a range of different things as we have such a small team. I work over three brands at the moment within our collaboration team: Bruce by Bruce Oldfield, Somerset by Alice Temperley, and our most recent brand Modern Rarity.

For Bruce and Alice we work very closely with the designers to produce the range. Modern Rarity works in a slightly different way as it's our first luxury ready-to-wear own brand. We feature a new guest collaboration each season with this brand, which is really exciting. For our launch season we had design duo Palmer/Harding, who have been amazing to work with, and we have very exciting designers coming up.

I get to work on a variety of different products working across the brands, so one day I could be working on knit and the next day it could be print.

What do you enjoy about your job?

Modern Rarity is my favourite brand to work on as I feel it's very similar to my own handwriting as a designer. I love that I get to design garments which I would actually wear. I also love how many new designers I'm getting the opportunity to work with and meet.

I'm a freelance designer, which is something I never thought that I would consider. However, being a freelancer has given me the freedom to do what I want. If I need a few days off for a project or a small job, then I can.

What are the challenges?

It can be hard working across three brands because this means three collections need producing each season. The thing I find most challenging is switching my mind to work on a different brand each day as you'll get fully absorbed in one brand one day, and then have to break off from this to work on another brand the next day.

Where do you hope to be in five years?

I've always wanted to do a Masters in womenswear at the Royal College of Art. I know that I need a bit more experience first, but I hope in five years' time I will be ready to apply, or even better, be on the course.

What are your tips for getting into fashion design?

  • Be open minded as opportunities aren't that common so when you get one make sure you grab it, no matter what it is.
  • If you're still studying, make the most of it. It's where you can really show others who you want to be as a designer.
  • Go forward with the mindset that all criticism is a building block. It can be disheartening at the time, but it makes you improve and become a stronger designer in the long run.
  • I chose to pursuit this career for my sheer love of being creative, so make sure you enjoy it.

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