For this week’s member spotlight, we’re focusing on an up-and-coming designer that’s really found her footing as a freelancer in recent months. Leanne Hardacre is a freelance Clothing Designer & the Founder of Hachure Active, an eco-conscious outdoor athleisure brand that is as passionate about sustainability as it is aesthetics.
How did you get into the industry?
I studied Fashion Design at the University of Salford in the UK and graduated with a 1st class BA(hons) in 2014. Since then, I have worked as a designer and product developer for many luxury and commercial clothing brands.
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
I live in Manchester, UK and have been a freelance designer for 8 months. I am currently working with a sportswear company and a luxury knitwear company and have recently signed on two start-up brands. All whilst building my own eco-conscious outdoor athleisure brand, Hachure Active.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
I am really into fitness so feel I’d be interested in sports science and becoming a PT or fitness instructor. It seems like a rewarding job being able to help people physically and mentally.
Can you explain your creative process? What makes it unique?
I love working with different brands as it means I can explore different styles more often. I enjoy researching style and aesthetics from fashion to lifestyle and take a lot of inspiration from street style as it feels genuine, expressive and unique.
How would you describe your style?
I’m quite minimalist in my style, and wear tonal colours, but I’m getting into thrifting and buying investment pieces with independent brands more now and re-styling my wardrobe with new accessories to reduce my consumption. I am 90% of the time in casual wear so a gym set, hoodie and trainers to take me from work to the gym.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
When I was at uni, Alexander McQueen was my idol. Such jaw dropping creativity. I visited his Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A in London in 2015 and it was mind-blowingly beautiful.
What tips would you give to aspiring creatives looking for work?
At the start of the journey it feels like the biggest challenge to get your foot in, but keep persevering, get out of your comfort zone, put yourself out there, always reach out to people, network, share your work and take on opportunities that come your way.
What tips would you give to other professionals to get more clients?
Always reach out to people, network, pick up the phone. It has taken me about 7 months to start getting traction in my freelance work, but with some clients reaching out from conversations we had late last year. Get on their radar, and when they are ready you will be in their mind.
What kind of tools/kit/software could you not do without?
I am (too) addicted to my phone and always look through Instagram for trends and style tips, and for my work I love my digital pen and tablet to make CAD drawing easier
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
Go out and see people, places, stores, cities. I’ve been WFH a lot the past few years and I really feel the value of being in a room of creative, inspiring and motivated people. It brings me energy.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
In 2018 my sister got married in a dress I designed and made. We use to joke about me doing it so when the time came and I took on the challenge it was quite out of my comfort zone.
But I did everything from drafting the pattern, fabric shopping in London and sewed everything on my domestic machine in my Mum and Dads dining room. I literally finished it the night before which was stressful for my sister but we can laugh about it now!
What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?
I’d love it to be a more welcoming place for people of all diversities and backgrounds. It is a very difficult industry to get into and the majority of the time it feels like you need to know someone to get there, so people who do it themselves are inspiring.
Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?
I love the Fashionary books. Design sketchbooks to draw ideas, and I also have ‘The Fashion Business Manual’ and ‘Textilepedia’. Full of valuable information for all sectors of the industry and useful resources.