This year's Fabric8 Contest is well under way, and our community has chosen the 8 finalists who will have a shot at signing with Moda Fabrics to release a beautiful, botanical collection! As finalists work on completing collections based around their winning design, we're getting to know the top 8 a bit better in a series of interviews with each of our finalists! Up today is Fizah Malik, the textile design pro behind the colorful Botanical Bloom entry.
FIZAH: Hi! I am a freelance textile/pattern designer working from home and loving every bit of it. I am originally from Pakistan and am now living in Sydney for almost 4 years with my husband and daughter. I have a Masters degree in Textile Design, and I'm currently doing my second Masters degree in Design from University of New South Wales. I am an expert at juggling time as a typical day includes designing, studying and taking care of a toddler at the same time. I am a leo and turquoise is my favourite colour.
How did you get started in design? Is this your full-time gig?
After my Masters degree I was working full-time in Pakistan, but after getting married, I moved to Australia and started working online as a freelancer. It just started from there, and now I work with major Australian retail companies as a freelancer. I find freelancing more rewarding in many ways. I not only get more time to spend with my little one, but I also have the creative freedom and can work at my own pace.
What inspired your Fabric8 design?
I have always been an admirer of botanical illustrations and flora studies. For the Fabric8 design, I was inspired by one of my favourite books, Flora by Sandra Knapp. It always gets rid of that creative block that every designer experiences at some point.
What has been the biggest help in promoting your work?
It is certainly social media and a community of great designers that I am a part of.
I started using social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) to promote my work around 8-9 months ago, and the result has been amazing. I am frequently getting commissioned work now via Instagram.
What is your best advice for fellow designers?
Confidence! Have confidence in yourself and your work and you will go places. In 2013, I made a design for the 2013 Fabric8 Geek Chic competition but never entered because I thought, "I'll never win it." Every designer goes through a phase of self doubt and creative blocks, but confidence is the key to success. Two years forward, I put myself out there, and it's amazing where it has landed me.
What inspires you now?
It's pretty cliché, but nature is my biggest inspiration. I can draw flowers all day long. I have a real affinity for flowers and nature, capturing their beauty in my own style really makes me happy.
Illustrator or Photoshop?
I'll have to say both. I worked solely in Photohop for almost 5 years and was scared of the term “vector.” This year, I decided to finally learn Illustrator, and although it wasn’t a breeze, I got there in the end. I just love the flexibility that Illustartor has to offer.
Cats or dogs?
I am, without a doubt, a cat person. I owned a Persian cat called Max for 8 years.
Stripes or Polka Dots?
I have an obsession with circles, so polka dots for me.