Local fashion designer and mama Free Bennett has recently launched a range of free spirited children’s clothing. FOCUS chatted with Free about fashion, balance and mum life …
You’ve always been interested in fashion, but what inspired you to start designing children’s clothing?
My inspiration purely comes firstly from my four girls and my large extended family. I love creating unique pieces for them all to wear. I have been fortunate to be a stay at home mum for 10 years. I always wanted to return to the making world eventually and work from home. The progression into making children’s clothing only seemed natural. Children’s clothing is so playful and fulfilling to create.
Tell us about your Spring/Summer collection …
All our pieces are limited edition, because of the nature of our fabric selections. The prints are ever changing, but the styles will be repeated and will always tell a story throughout the season. Our collections have a very free-spirited/bohemian feel … Think a mix of natural fibres linens/cottons, vintage fabrics, recycled denim, global inspired prints and hand crocheted trims, floaty dresses and skirts, playful overalls, kimonos and lots more.
I try to make all styles trans-seasonal, so they can be layered up for winter or stripped back for summer. Children grow so fast, and I like to see them get the most wear out of their special pieces.
How do you balance mum/work life?
Well, any working mum could answer this one for me! Actually, I don’t really see myself as a working mum, because I work from home and love what I do. But, it is always busy; I try be as organised as I can, and my children have to always come first. We have our work days and our play days, and our I don’t think we are going to get anything done days!
Describe a typical day for you.
There isn’t really a typical day or week in our household. I try to have some sort of structure in my work days, but I also have to be hugely flexible.
I love attending all the kids’ school activities, and that was a major drawcard to working from home … All of this is still quite fresh for me and my family, so we are slowly working it out together.
Depending on the workload, I can do 2 – 5 days, and when in the midst of production I can still be sewing well into the night. I have two little people at home with me, which often makes work days a little adventurous!
My sister comes to the rescue if the workload is overwhelming and cuts/trims/tags/presses. My mum and my mother in law are always there if the kids need a break from normal life.
Eggs on toast for dinner is always the backup plan meal!
Life is always busy … but mostly a good busy!
At the end of the day when the house is finally tidy and quiet, I enjoy a cuppa and have my half hour of bliss!
What advice would you give to budding fashion designers?
I am not one to give a lot of advice, as
everyone has their own journey to follow. I also feel I have so much to learn from others. Yes, fashion designer is the label and I do love designing, but making and creating is the thing that brings me pure happiness. If it is your passion and it makes you happy, whether it is for yourself or for others, just do it!
Be yourself; it always works out for the best!
Life is too short to wear boring clothes!
Happiness is …
I feel complete when I am surrounded by all the people I love,🧡my family and friends. That, to me, is the meaning of happiness!