UK/India Collaborative Project: Cultural Fashion

Sushant School of Design is a Talent Tin contributing college. Earlier this year they collaborated with UAL on a project that worked towards a creative connection between the UK and India…

In the spring of this year, UAL awarding body facilitated a project between fashion students from Birmingham Metropolitan College’s Stourbridge campus and Sushant School of Design in New Delhi. The project focused on the diversity and global nature of fashion, encouraging international collaboration and working with sustainable materials.

Students were tasked with designing and branding a capsule range for a sub-brand of an existing global company to sell in the UK and India. Innovation and experimentation was key.

The students worked in pairs, one from the UK and one from India, and communicated digitally to share ideas and consult regularly with each other. A panel of judges then selected the best collections to be exhibited at Origins.

Ellesha Allsopp Harris BMET Stourbridge 

Konrad Podlewski BMET Stourbridge

Piyanka Bhalla Sushant School of Design

Why small fashion businesses should choose freelancers

Freelancers may not be a new phenomenon, but the concept of hiring freelancers regularly is only just beginning to take hold in many industries around the world. Arguably fashion has not been an early adopter, even though it is certainly an industry that could benefit hugely from the boom in freelancers.


The fashion industry encompasses a great many skillsets to make it work, and while many of which lie in the creative field, there is more variety than you might imagine. With so many different aspects in one industry, from photography to copywriting, through to web design and beyond, the fashion world is set to reap the rewards of diverse and highly-skilled freelancers more than anything else.


When most think of fashion brands, they picture the top tier – the ones that drape every inch of the Met Gala every year, and hit the headlines about the celebrities that star in their shows at fashion week. But within the fashion world are many more smaller brands or single designers that are popping up with dramatic and electric new lines every year.


These smaller business, one-off pop-ups and startups are the ones that are most likely to benefit from the freelancing boom. They are the brands that are counting the pennies as they strive to make an entrance into the big leagues, and therefore they are the ones who will get the most from a more cost-effective hiring method.


Freelancers can often appear to be a more expensive solution in the short-term. When paying a salary on a daily rate, you must ensure you have the funds upfront. However, often a creative freelancer may only be needed for a few days, or a few weeks. Once you have paid out for the work that they completed, you will be free to redirect your funds elsewhere. In fashion, where busy periods fluctuate throughout the year, this can be a great way to save money on hiring someone full-time, who will be barely needed for a few months of the year.


For a small business or startup, there is often a period of intense growth that happens at the start of the journey. In that period, there is an imperative need to do everything possible to encourage an explosion of creativity and innovation. Bringing on a few, carefully selected freelancers who are incredibly talented within their specific fields, is the perfect way to have the best start possible. It would be far riskier to hire a full-time team member and then find out slightly too late that they weren’t right for the brand after all.


The world is developing new ways of working with alarming speed, and you must be willing to adopt new practices to keep up with the pace. Freelancers are one of the best resources for any new business, in any industry. If you have a smaller fashion brand, a pop-up or a startup, then utilising the strengths and skills of others is the way to push your name to the top.

The Future of Fashion

Manika Walia, a professor of Fashion and Textiles at Sushant School of Design has given us her view on the future of fashion and what the rise of technology and artificial intelligence might mean…


Fashion and textiles is a field that draws insights from diverse fields, such as science, social science, and arts.

The recent trend of growing diversity in the fashion and textiles field has naturally led to greater interdisciplinary collaboration. During this Fourth Industrial Revolution, the entire textile industry, from manufacturing to retail, nowadays expects greater interaction among various technologies.

Great progress in materials science, innovations in design have facilitated the emergence of smart wear, and developments in 3D garment design technology and 3D printing have noticeably reduced the average time it takes from design to manufacturing.

Artificial intelligence has allowed the industry to react to consumer needs in real time. Thus, we believe that interdisciplinary and cross-functional research is more important than ever in the field of fashion and textiles.

Fashion has always been a forcing house for innovation — from the invention of the sewing machine to the rise of e-commerce. Fashion is forward-looking and cyclical.

It is one of the largest industries in the global economy, where tech is transforming it at a fast speed than ever.

From robots that can weave, sew and cut fabric, to Artificial Intelligence algorithms predicting trends and styles, to Visual Reality mirrors in dressing rooms, technology is automating, personalizing, and speeding up every aspect of fashion.

As more and more Artificial Intelligence “assistance” programs advance, they will help brands with the assistance of AI programs are making smart strategic decisions around product development and new business lines.

3D design platforms also make it easy to improve designs.


The next era of fashion is all about personalisation. 

Technology is changing the process at all levels of fashion industry: designers, manufacturers, retailers, stylists, and consumers.

Virtual reality have a range of applications which allows production and distribution methods to evolve at a rapid pace. The moment customers taste change there is an immediate change in the trends.

Meanwhile from sketchpad to store shelf, every aspect of the industry is being automated or enhanced by tech — making for faster production, more effective inventory management, and a wider range of online and in-store retail experiences.

The outcome will be a sector that becomes extensively efficient, offering more options than ever before. A new insight of new manufacturing processes, distribution channels, and even raw materials and fabrics will make it easy for brands to offer hyper-personalized products and experiences.

Automation might take over many roles within the fashion industry. However, it will also likely result in new types of roles around curation, customer service, and engineering. As tech becomes more responsive to the individual, it will be interesting to watch how the role of designer will be massive.

We are entering the exciting world of Artificial Intelligence.

How to manage a creative freelancer based in another country

One of the best things about the rise of freelancers, is the rise of remote employees. A fashion brand is now able to hire someone based in another country without worrying about relocating costs or any other connectivity problems. You now have the benefit of a wider cultural spectrum and far more diversity than ever before. There is a truly global network, scattered from London to Beijing, all willing to offer up their skills to the right brand.


When it comes to fashion brands, there is still a certain amount of trepidation associated with hiring both a freelancer, and someone in a completely different country to most of their staff. This is understandable, as there a few issues that need to be smoothed out before you begin.


  1. Create a specialised recruitment process

When you recruit a freelancer based in another country, you will need to alter your interview process to allow for the fact that they may not be able to meet you in person. Schedule enough phones calls or Skype meetings with members of the team, to ensure that your freelancer understands what you are after, and you understand what they can offer. If they can come in for a face-to-face interview, then that is always going to be the best option, but with all the online tools now available, a proper meeting is no long essential.


  1. Stay in contact

Contact is one the most vital components of building a reliable team, whether the team-members are freelance or permanent. When your freelancer is based abroad, regular contact is even more important, because things can get confused, particularly when you are dealing with a different time zone. Cover every possibility of things going wrong by staying in constant contact – that way you will be able to prevent any difficulty before it arises.


  1. Have regular meetings

Following on from the previous point, you should aim to have regular meetings with your freelancer. This is important to bear in mind, regardless of whether your freelancer is abroad or in the same city as you. Meetings give everyone a chance to articulate anything that is unclear, and get instant feedback on any issues. Waiting for an email (that is badly worded when it arrives) can slow everything down and increase costs in the long run.


  1. Trust them

When hiring anyone you have a to take a leap of faith. If you have rigorous recruitment policies and you take your freelancer through an appropriate hiring process, then at some point you will have to trust that you made the right choice. Allow them to get on with the tasks that you have set them and trust that they are the specialist in their area, and will therefore deliver their best creative work for your brand.


Need a global freelancer to join your ranks? Post your brief on Talent Tin.

5 common mistakes made when hiring freelancers

Mistakes can creep up on almost anyone in any given situation. But in a fashion business there is no room for avoidable mistakes. Fashion is a highly competitive industry and if you allow a few slip-ups, then you can end up falling behind, before you truly understand why.


When hiring anybody, there are risks involved. Are they the right person? Will they fit in, or will they become a very costly mistake? Freelance hires can often throw up even more concerns, as you are likely to be investing a lump sum all at once and want to make sure that it is worth it.


There are a few mistakes that often occur when hiring freelancers, but knowing what they are and how to avoid them will ensure that you end up with only the best experience.


  1. Your budget is lower than your expectations

Unfortunately, you cannot expect a freelancer to create your vision the way that you want, if you cannot find the budget for it. When it comes to creative freelancers, there is an abundance of high-quality work available, but you must be realistic about how much it will cost you.


  1. You haven’t done your research

When choosing the right freelancer for your project, you need to be aware of what else is out there, in terms of quality and price. If you pick the first creative that you come across, and you are unhappy with their work, then you will only be disappointed that you didn’t take the time to research others. Using a platform like Talent Tin, which is dedicated to fashion freelancers, can take some of the pressure off this research part of the process.


  1. You keep altering your brief

When you have selected someone to fill the role that you have available, then you will need to have a consultation about what your core needs are. Once the freelancer has this vital information, then they will be able to take it away and work on your project. A common mistake that many employers make is attempting to alter the brief after confirming it with their freelancer, and therefore delaying things and confusing their creative.


  1. Being unclear at the start

Even if you don’t change your brief, there is always the danger of being unclear about your expectations from the very beginning. It’s a good idea to be crystal-clear about your brief before you begin looking for a freelancer, so that everything moves forward smoothly, without a hitch.


  1. Not paying on time

Paying a freelancer is usually a straight-forward process, but it should always be done on time. If you have found a great creative, who understands your brand vision and delivered impeccable work to the highest standard, then you may want to work with them again in the future. Freelancing is a two-way process, so ensure your relations stay positive by paying promptly.


Talent Tin has a pool of freelancers dedicated to the fashion industry. Find out how you can hire them here.