Thursday, April 29, 2010


I’ll let you in on a little secret which very few people may be aware of.
For 18 years I worked as a patternmaker for the Fashion Industry. As the head patternmaker and production manager in the design room it was my duty to ensure that all the new designs were drafted into correct fitting patterns for cutting and sewing the new seasons range by a specific deadline.
Most of the time my assistants and I would be able to do this even though we were under a lot of stress however, some of the time, we would require outside assistance in order to achieve the deadline.
We had the option of hiring somebody on a contract basis to help us – but that would cost money and because we had already spent our funds on the range we just could not afford this option.
Rather than accepting this and just working harder and/or cutting down on some of the luxury spending that happens we decided that we would do something which is completely immoral and very illegal – it’s something that happens in the Fashion Industry a fair bit and is also happening in other Industries more and more.
We took advantage of young aspiring designers by telling them that we were now hiring for a new patternmaker, all they had to do was come in for an unpaid trial and if they passed the trial they would have a paid job in our work room.
We would give each of them one or two designs from the new range so they could make patterns for them under the guise that this was a trial to see how they worked.
Little did they know that we had no intention of ever hiring any of them fulltime, instead what we were doing was getting them to make patterns for all of the designs that we could not complete in time.
We were getting them to help us do our paid job for free.
They went away feeling as though they might have struck opportunity, never heard from us again and continued looking for work – meanwhile we went on to continue in our role, being paid well and the range would go on to flourish and make huge profits.
This is exactly what is currently happening in the Film/TV Industry and still happening in the Fashion Industry with all talents and all job roles, not just Makeup Artists (even though they usually are the first to be used and abused).
But I here you say “Oh yes but I only work for free if I get something out of it”, you may think you’re getting experience but I am telling you it is not a real experience, you may be getting pretty photos for your portfolio but are they truly showcasing your talent or someone else’s?
When I first started Makeup I did some free work and it was not until I was on a paid gig that I realised that my experience was absolutely useless and that the photos I had in my portfolio were not close up shots of my work, they were usually showcasing the photographer, model or clothing – not my makeup.
No matter what you think the opportunity is or what you think it may lead to DO NOT EVER WORK FOR FREE!
Chances are you are being used and all you are doing is diminishing the value of your craft by setting an unrealistic ideal of the real costs involved in your Industry.