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Working remotely as a textile designer

Working remotely as a textile designer

The idea of a textile designer working remotely may sound as romantic as challenging at the same time. Initially, the first steps to becoming a freelance designer aren’t simple, but eventually it is well worth it. Picture poolside views, speedy internet and great coffee, not having mentioned a rich surrounding of culture and creativity. Australian textile designers have - in that sense - an affluence of options to choose from. Destinations such as Bali, Thailand and India have rich cultures plus have a favorable cost of living and production. Besides that, they are located ‘on the doorstep’ of many Australian textile designers.Working remotely in Canggu BaliWorking remotely in Canggu, Bali

Remote projects: boosting your creativity.

Does working remotely function well for your creative productivity? Research shows that creative work is more effectively done remotely than in a rigid and structured environment. However the absence of interpersonal relationships and the lack of communication and spontaneity might suggest a downside for remote textile designers. Mostly, it comes down to the right attitude and communication tools.

A design story: the role of inspiration.

The productive journey from concept to end is defined by a variety of stages. In the initial phase, the source of inspiration, has a vital role within your design-making process. It defines the nature and style of the fabrics used. So, picking an environment which is creative and culturally rich is hugely important in defining your design. Thus, before taking that leap of faith and finding yourself immersed in Asian surroundings, you should take the time to understand what source of inspiration feeds your objective as a textile designer. To grasp what awaits you in every single environment, we’ve taken the time to distinguish these different sources of inspiration, breaking them down into practical, creative and cultural elements that are of interest for textile and fashion designers with remote interest at heart.

Working remotely: where and why?

Bali, Indonesia.

At first sight, the main characteristics of this tropical paradise have a seemingly beneficial impact on your creative journey, not having mentioned your wallet. A textile designer working in Bali will normally face an overload of creative and cultural impulses, as the Balinese culture is filled with traditional and expressive appearance. Let’s paint a picture of the advantages and limitations.

Creative and culturally rich environment.

In Bali, textiles are much more than just fabrics from which clothing is made. Over here, textiles have become a medium through which the local population express their cultural imagination of the divine nature of existence. Their cultural routines oblige them to be constantly aware of the physical and material appearance of their surrounding. Important rocks and trees are dressed with the poleng cloth and daily offerings must - at least - be done with the wear of a sash around the waist. The more purpose, with which an event is labeled, the more complex the dress. As the Balinese calendar is full of traditional events, textile design is a highly visible factor in everyday life. 

Dojo in Canggu Working poolside in Ubud Boutiques in CangguDojo in Canggu - Working poolside in Ubud - Boutiques in Canggu

Practical environment: Good coworking Spaces.

In a practical sense Bali has an increasingly growing value. The cost of living is relatively low, the WiFi speeds have significantly improved and like-minded freelancers can be found within a heartbeat at the numerous coworking spaces founded at the island.

  Dojo (Canggu), Hubud (Ubud) and Outpost (Ubud) are a just a selection of the instantly growing list of coworking spaces on the island. What distinguishes them from the rest is mostly their community and location at the island. Canggu has become ‘the home of the hip’ and attracts many surfers and yogi’s. Ubud is mostly known for its spirituality, green environments and traditional community. These elements are clearly noticeable during your possible stay in Bali. Besides technology, cost of living and the community, the variety of sightseeing and the easy options for paradise-like escapes to Lombok, Nusa Penida or Sumbawa are a great way to continuously enrich your creative mind.

Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Chiang Mai, meaning new city, is the largest city in Northern Thailand. The city labels itself as a creative city. The entire surrounding metropol has become home to more than a million inhabitants.

Creative and culturally rich environment.

A big difference compared to Bali is the fact that this is a city environment that holds a more fast-paced vibrance of life, although that doesn’t necessarily need to be perceived as a negative for creative textile designers.

As a textile designer Warorot Market is where you need to be if you want to stroll through abundant loads of hand stitched quilts, textiles, garments and Hmong fabrics. Depending on your personal preference, you can plan your visit during the lively Saturday morning or experience a more calming ambiance during a Wednesday lunch. Relatively modern boutiques with charming hill tribe clothing crafted from embroidered fabrics surround an underground located food court with khao soi and noodle stands. Don’t forget to pay a visit to the building situated next door, called Lamyai, where you’ll find stalls with a range of carry bags, a mix of adult and children clothing made from hill tribe fabrics and more subtle natural fibres. Last but not least, Hmong Market offers a similar source of inspiration for textile designers with beautiful batik and embroidered skirts.

Practical environment: Co Working Spaces.

Punspace ( 2 locations ) and Starwork ( 1 location ) are the most highly recommended coworking spaces in Chiang Mai for fashion and textile designers. These two offer you a spacious and relaxed workspace and are conveniently located with regard to public transport and the hip and fast-paced area’s of Chiang Mai. The working spaces offer 24/7 access for members and are equipped with all the necessary tools a remote textile or fashion designer needs. The meeting rooms are equipped with webcams, scanners, projectors and printers. Mostly, you’ll find all the necessities you’ll need.

India.

Speaking about the Mecca for textile designers, probably the most appealing source of inspiration stems from India.

Creative and culturally rich environment.

The love relationship the Indians have with textile design is a thing that has been historically embedded. The treasure of indigenous techniques combined with the influence of foreign design philosophy left behind by various invaders has created a unique charm that the Indian fabrics nowadays express. Ikat and Pochampalli, for example, are astonishing hand-woven patterns that require experienced techniques and are unparalleled by printed patterns. Every weave that is produced through the hands of these Indian craftsmen and women has a unique story to share. As for a textile designer, unearthing these design skills and exploring the brilliant variety of garments and design techniques works truly inspiring and will add tons of value to your design-making process.

Fashion and textile designer, Lindsay Puttock, owner of Studio Wanderlust, took off to the Gujarat State, at the border of India and Pakistan, to explore and collect design inspiration from the indigenous people of the Kutch population. As in her own words: “I feel privileged to have met so many authentic and inspiring people, with such an instinctive eye for colour and design, during our travels to a variety of different villages”.

A remote Indian adventure provides you with a challenging environment as some areas can be quite overcrowded. Depending on the season, working remotely in India will demand you to adapt yourself to challenging weather conditions. In the hotter months and during monsoon season, the transport can be quite the challenge. Off course, it all varies on whether you locate yourself in the busier cities or rural areas of India. Depending on your budget and comfort level there are some excellent hotels that have some great environments and resources for work. In terms of coworking spaces we would recommend spaces such as WeWork, AWFIS and InstaOffice, which are mostly located in Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi.

In conclusion, we can state that India has the most to offer as a source of inspiration, although it provides you with challenging weather, transport and housing conditions as well. Bali is probably the most tranquil as its an island with paradise like distractions. Both Bali and Thailand attain the abilities to meet your more practical needs, as the cocktail of creativity and stability found its balance. Either way, as a textile designer, when you look close enough inspiration can be found in the slightest detail…

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