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Creatives at Home: LCF alumni on the challenges of freelancing during Covid-19

Written by Alexandra R. Cifre
Published date 25 April 2020

We have all daydreamed at some point about having the freedom of a freelancer. Working from home, at your own pace, avoiding crowded commutes and doing projects that you're passionate about. With the coronavirus outbreak many students and professionals are now having a taste of that life, but how are freelancers actually coping under the current circumstances? We got in touch with LCF alumni who work as fashion writers, photographers and consultants to know more about the challenges of freelancing during Covid-19 and share ideas on how self-employed creatives can stay active during this time.

Brodie Sián Taberner, MA Fashion Photography alumna and freelance photographer

Image of woman looking straight at the camera wearing fantasy makeup

Freelancing during lockdown... The outbreak happened around the time I was working to become a full-time freelancer. I've been working extremely hard since Christmas to put plans in place to grow my brand and kick off my series, but ultimately I've had to put it all to a halt. I did however launch my website during this time, so it's been a blessing to be able to see my work on a platform other than on social media.

Staying creative at home... I stay at home a lot anyway so I'm kind of used to this lifestyle. However, I would say this whole situation has made me more social (online). I've been video chatting with friends, having virtual art days and I've also been shooting models over webcam, which has been challenging but fun. Drawing a lot has also been of a big help.

To fellow freelancers... Don't add pressure to yourself by thinking you need to be productive or be doing anything you can to stay creative. Use this time to learn about yourself, take care of yourself and take a break. Us creatives are our own worst enemy at times, so take it easy. Listen to your favourite music, eat what you want and keep in contact with those you love.

Vanessa da Silva Miranda, MA Fashion Journalism alumna and freelance copywriter

Collage of fashion magazines

Freelancing during lockdown... Undoubtedly this crisis has had serious effects for us freelancers and, as many, I’m looking for a new contract and worried about the future. Hopefully, on a bright note, the digital market will grow and that will translate into more opportunities and a need for extra workforce.

More than ever, online business will need to step-up their game, as social distancing will have an impact in shopping and fashion habits.

In terms of new projects, I’m now collaborating with a friend’s sustainable platform – it’s called BBLS Studio and you can read my article on creating a sustainable closet in the journal section.

How I'm using social media... My favourite platform is Instagram, where I share my life details and my work. I’m also on Twitter to follow the news and what’s happening around the world regarding the pandemic and, specially, in the fashion industry. Both these platforms are great to interact and exchange ideas with others, as well as promoting work. I always share my articles on both platforms and open them to public discussion as it's interesting to see different perspectives.

Staying creative at home.... Being creative ends up being an escape to the monotony of days and I’m happy to never be short of ideas. I've taught myself how to make scrunchies without a sewing machine and recently bought a canvas to experiment with painting. My collages are another expression of creativity that I never get tired of. I'm also enjoying listening to podcasts – Business of Fashion and the Dior Talks are super interesting.

How we're using social media... Our social media channels have been our main platform for building a community since the very beginning of Hajinsky. We're now focusing more on truly connecting and adding value to the life’s of our audience. We held a mini Covid-19 Instagram live conference a couple of weeks ago, where we addressed some of the main challenges we felt our audience was going to have to face. This was a first for us and definitely proved a positive challenge.

Staying creative at home... I’m an introvert so being at home is not such a struggle for me. As I’ve been working from home for a while, I’m sticking to the same principles and practices that kept me positive before: sleeping and eating well, working out daily, journaling, deeply connecting (virtually) with my closest friends and family. I also spend any additional time I have on new projects I’ve had brewing for a while and learning new skills via online courses or by reading books.

To fellow freelancers... A shift in perspective towards gratitude can free up the necessary headspace to innovate and make this the most fruitful thing that could have happened to us in 2020. It's ok to allow space to grieve how we feel things were supposed to be, but it's not beneficial to stay there. Each day is a day full of opportunities waiting to be seized.

Melody Berkery, BA Fashion Photography alumna and fashion photographer

Woman wearing yellow dress

Freelancing during lockdown... It’s been really stressful. My work has been getting cancelled for the last two months as a lot of people/brands I was meant to work with were abroad, so they started their lockdowns early and cancelled their shoots in London. Luckily, as a filmmaker I can edit too so I was able to get a few editing jobs whilst being at home, but as of now the work has completely dried up.

Staying creative at home... It’s been hard to not fall into a creative slump as the lack of outdoor time and social activity really affects me mentally and creatively. But in the last two weeks I have started a thrift flipping project where I take old unwanted clothes and turn them into something new. After receiving positive feedback from my friends I decided to start filming what I was doing and creating little tutorials. I have also been teaching myself how to do simple animations to go along with these videos.

Learning these new skills and making these little funny videos to share with my friends keeps me feeling positive and busy during this lockdown.

To fellow freelancers... Try to stay positive by keeping in touch with friends and family. Make things for the people you love, it will keep you productive and will lift your mood. Use the internet (if you have access to it) to learn a skill that could help your freelance work in the future. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself though, if anything just use this time to relax!

Molshree Vaid, MA Fashion Futures alumna and freelance consultant

Freelancing during lockdown... The freelancer is the first spend companies often dispense with as they take the work in-house to cut costs. So, yes the workflow has slowed as some projects are on hold until the situation stabilises. However, I have a few projects underway with a number of clients who are using this period to set the house in order or reboot parts of their business.

Staying creative at home... The daily prayer of gratitude and acknowledgment of my privilege to work from home keeps me sane and grounded. As a freelancer, I have worked from home long before the phrase trended, so being at home is not a struggle or a novel experience. However, the tragedy-laden news flow has brought me down a few times in the last few weeks. Hence, I am limiting my news intake and keeping busy with work assignments.

Being creative in these times is easy as the at-home world community is throwing out tons of fun ideas on social media to get inspired by. And yes, I am experimenting in the kitchen.

To fellow freelancers... I am sticking with this quote in the current circumstances: “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” Stay connected with your clients. Thanks to this enforced pause, it is a great time to audit your body of work and review whether you want to change your trajectory in terms of the nature of projects. Spring clean your online folders. Evaluate online courses to upskill yourself. Target non-fashion projects that can benefit from your transferrable skills.

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