SANDRA NICOLE FREIMAN
Blogger, fashion designer and trend forecaster living in Paris - with her roots in Sweden.
November 27, 2017
Hi Sandra! What kind of creative are you?
Right now I’m a freelancing fashion design consultant - I have a background in fashion and textiles. I’ve worked at H&M, Gina Tricot and Lindex in Sweden. I’ve done a little bit of both purchasing and design but design is closest to my heart. Here in Paris I’ve basically done design only. On the side I also do social media curating and I have a blog and try to share my fashion design world with people through the blog and Instagram.
What does your design process look like as a freelance designer?
It depends. When you freelance you’re on different projects. I’ve done trend research and collection development and even a little bit of graphic design and branding. When I’m with a client, we set up a process plan that's a part of the project, and then there's a few weeks back and forth of me giving the clients drafts. Say they want a small collection for a start-up or something: I draw a little collection plan and sketches of clothing I think will suit the collection, like how many tops or bottoms, and what kind of thought they should have. It continues like that back and forth until it is set and I start sketching the technical sketches. I also do fabric research and color research, depending on what the client wants. It’s a pretty tight schedule working with the client.
So what part of that process is the most creative for you?
I would say the research part is very interesting, and when you have an understanding for what the client wants, their brand DNA and universe. Then you’ll be like - Ok, what do I take from this and how do I elevate it? I do like the research part and I go to exhibitions and read magazines or books and search the web of course. I try to do max fifty percent of the research online, because it's easy to get stuck in what everyone else is doing. Everyone pins the same images on Pinterest. That's the creative part and then you boil it all down to something. Out of this research you get an actual product.
What inspires you in your blogging?
When it comes to blogging I find it so fascinating that I can share my world with people all over the globe basically. I’ve read blogs for a very very long time and- do you know Garance Doré? She’s a fashion illustrator and her blog really boomed in 2008. She used her blog as a platform to upload her illustrations and then she started taking photographs - streetstyle - and from that she’s built this whole world of her own. She wrote a book about her lifestyle and it became a world, not only a person. Today it's not only a brand, it's become something more. And this what I’d like to do one day, start a brand, but it’s not going to be just clothes. It’s going to be a lifestyle, a universe, and it’s only going to be ”pretty things”. It´s going to be ideas and movements and inspiration and sisterhood.
...like a community?
Exactly, and that's where the blogging part comes in. It´s amazing I think.
Is the best part of blogging the interaction with your followers or is it the creative part of writing and taking pictures?
Well, it’s a combination of both. These days it’s quite hard to get comments from readers cause people are more like, ”I don’t have enough time, I have to be on all these social medias. I can give you a like, maybe share it but I really don’t have time actually commenting”. But when you do get feedback like with Insta stories, it’s so much easier to get people to write a quick note and then you get this instant feedback and that’s really one of the biggest reasons why I love it. But also when you blog you concentrate all the thoughts you have in your mind and things suddenly become clear for you. You really get to think through things and boil them down. And do follow-ups and goals for the year to come and you can look back and see what you actually did and it turns out from time to time I actually progressed in some areas.
Did you start freelancing when you moved to Paris?
Yes, pretty much. I moved here in the summer of 2015 and then I started freelancing six months after. In the spring of 2016 I was offered a job through a connection and for that I needed a company. Since then I’ve been doing a little bit here and there, but from January this year it’s been full time. It was a big step to take, and scary, but I have to keep swimming
Was studying in Paris a good way to get into the business and to open doors?
Connections are everything in any line of work, and when you’re a newcomer in a new country you have zero connections and yes, through education I found my clients and also through a Facebook group called Swedes in Paris. So the Internet helps. It’s funny because they say that Swedes are usually not people who reach out and they’re a bit timid but in a group like Swedes in Paris people reach out all the time and they’re like, ” hi, I need a friend; hi, I need a job!” Maybe it’s the type of person who moves to another country who has these qualities, I don’t know, but I would like to say that Swedes aren’t timid and cold.
How’s your experience being a creative in Paris different from working creatively in Gothenburg?
Well, in Gothenburg I would have a bigger safety net. I still have my family a phone call away if I need them, but I can’t go home to the family if something bad has happened. I don’t have as many friends here as in Sweden so you’re a bit more on your own. You have to be a bit tough. But at the same time if you remind yourself of the fact that you're doing this in a different country in a third language, not even your second, if I can do this, I can do anything.
How is it different business-wise?
It’s less secure here - probably something I feel because I’m a foreigner. I was once not paid for a job I did until six months later and that was because I more or less threatened the person who connected me and the client, so they started calling and yelling and finally I got paid. It’s difficult, I can imagine they see someone who's isn’t from the country and think, ”they’re easy to fool." But there are positive sides of course - Paris is a great city to be in if you want to do fashion. Everyone takes fashion super seriously here, which I don’t feel like people do in Sweden. They see it as something you do on your free time and are more like - oh wow do you think that you should get paid that well for a job you think is fun to do?
Yes, that’s quite typical. Like when you do something creative as your work, people expect you to get paid very little. And you always put more time and effort into it - like the research part - and they don’t think about that.
Yeah, and creative people should just be grateful, because they’re doing something they think is fun. Well, fun doesn’t pay the rent. And fun is hard work.
So in Paris they don’t have that kind of approach?
Well no, but this is a city with a lot of talent so if they want they can have a lot of interns. But when people level a little bit in terms of experience, you can get a great pay check - that’s good! But as you know, where there’s a lot of jobs there’s a lot of talent as well.
Which brands have you been working with?
I’ve been working quite a lot with start-ups, but one bigger company is for instance La Redoute. Me and a co-worker just finished a three day presentation on Fall/Winter 18/19 trends. That was interesting! Trends is a very interesting subject and there’s a lot to dig into and there's tons of research. When you do it for someone specific it’s also very interesting instead of doing it very broadly. You have to fit the fabric to the customers budget and things like that. When you work for a trend company you can do reports every week and it has to be on a bigger scope and not for a specific customer.
How do you come up with what’s going to be the next trend?
Basically when you work with trends you're years ahead, you're trying to analyse the world, where it’s at, where would it normally head in conditions like now, and what will the reactions be to things happening in the world right now. Seeing what influential people and brands are saying and what they’re showing and then taking these macro trends and try to make them smaller. You think – “ OK, so we've seen a bit of this, do we think it's a long-lasting trend or will it be short-lasting? You watch all the runway shows and you go see exhibitions.
The Met Ball is always an indicator in some way as well. It might seem very out there or difficult to other people. Anna Wintour is one of the most influential people in fashion so it’s super important to see what she’s doing and who or what she decides should have an exhibition at the Met.
What trends are you seeing in the future?
There’s one big current trend which is the reaction towards Mr. Trump. Disruption is the biggest one. We’re in a great disruption and scary things are happening and a lot of people are very afraid and you can handle that fear in different ways. It’s up to the people I think to decide what we’re doing and that’s something you can see in the designers. Some people respond in anger, some respond with positivity - trying to make the best of it and fight with love. That’s super interesting and I think we will see more of that for a long time.