Lydia Brewer and I have been friends since we were 13. She was always ahead of her time – I remember being super impressed that she had a subscription to Fashion Quarterly and a room away from her parents prying eyes down on the second level of their house. Fast forward and we still are bonded over our crazy cat lady tendencies, love of chocolate and the fact that we prefer to make fun of ourselves rather than take ourselves too seriously.
Although we have both changed over time and have lead quite different lives, one thing remains the same: she is hands down the most sorted little human when it comes to killing it career wise. Hard work, a bit of luck and the utter most professionalism has always had me scrambling behind her trying to play catch up. And, of course, now she has gone freelance and is killing it there too… with clients out the wazoo, it’s all done with a smile and a giggle – that’s how she rolls!
It was only natural I turned to her to become my Fashion Editor when I launched The Unimpossibles – who else could do it better? In this piece Lydia divulges just how she has made everything possible and how you too can cultivate a career worth lusting over.
Name: Lydia Brewer
Occupation: Freelance communications consultant
What did you study and what was your original intended career path?
I studied a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Public Relations at AUT University, which I would absolutely recommend to anyone in New Zealand wanting to get into media. I always imagined I would follow the same career path as many PRs before me, work agency for a while until the right in-house job turned up. I’ve always been interested in fashion, art and theatre, so I was hopeful I’d end up somewhere there.
Give us a brief background on your career to date:
I’ve worked in media for seven years, including three years as an editor at architecture publication Trends Magazine. On the PR side I’ve worked both agency and in-house. Recently I’ve been specialising in publicising luxury products, fashion and creative endeavours, which I guess came kind of organically because it’s what I enjoy.
In the last 18 months I’ve worked on book launches, theatre and dance performances, luxury beauty products, art and photography shows, and a few fashion projects. I also look after all the marketing and communications for New Zealand designer taylor. Oh, and I’m the fashion editor for The Unimpossibles![line]
Going out on my own was the best thing I could have done. Working for myself has enabled me to provide a truly authentic service to my clients.
When did you decide to go freelance?
The opportunity arose a year ago when someone I used to work for offered me a large chunk of freelance work. I was going through a period of flux at the time so I thought “why not,” and quit my role at a high-profile agency. I managed to squeeze in a couple of months travelling in Eastern Europe which was an added bonus!
Going out on my own was the best thing I could have done. Working for myself has enabled me to provide a truly authentic service to my clients, and I’m privileged to work with a group of organisations, both creative and corporate, that make it easy to get out of bed in the morning. I’m looking forward to growing and solidifying that community further as my career progresses.
[line][pullquote width=”300″ float=”right”]Many industries exist in isolation and I think there are so many opportunities for them to partner on different projects.[/pullquote] [line]
Have you found that your strategy and what you want from your work has changed over time?
To be honest when I first started out freelancing I was grateful to have work so I was taking on anything. But now I’m lucky to have more work than I can accept, so I’m looking to build a diverse portfolio of clients that will complement each other. I have a wide network and I want to be able to introduce my clients to each other, and create and foster relationships within that community that will benefit everyone. Many industries exist in isolation and I think there are so many opportunities for them to partner on different projects.
What are some of the unexpected aspects of being in PR?
I was surprised to find I much preferred working agency to working in house. You’re exposed to a wide range of industries, organisations and people and I find that so exciting. I love working across a multitude of projects at one time – it’s diverse and fast paced and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What advice would you give to someone aspiring to start out on their own?
Make sure you have some financial back up for the first few months, they’ll be hard. Say yes to everything, and have confidence in yourself.
[line][pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”]Say yes to everything, and have confidence in yourself.[/pullquote] [line]
What makes you drawn to writing for The Unimpossibles?
Fashion has always been a passion of mine, one that I’ve been lucky enough to turn into a job. Cat and I are old, dear friends and when she talked to me about launching The Unimpossibles I found it so inspiring I knew I wanted to be involved. I approached her about writing a fashion section and she agreed – we threw around a few ideas and settled on two regular features focussing on sustainable, ethically produced and local fashion. It’s something I feel strongly about – I try and wear local and ethical as much as I possibly can. In the next six months we’re going to be growing the section to be bigger and better!
What sort of content can our lovely readers expect from you?
Hopefully something interesting! I want to write articles that readers will find funny, compelling and smart. Fashion doesn’t have to be frivolous, I want to write about it in a way that’s intelligent and thought-provoking without being preachy or self-indulgent. I guess the readers can let me know if I’m delivering on that or not!
[line][pullquote width=”600″ float=”left”]Fashion doesn’t have to be frivolous, I want to write about it in a way that’s intelligent and thought-provoking without being preachy or self-indulgent.[/pullquote] [line]
What would you say to your 21 year old self?
You might not end up where you think you will, but trust me, where you’re going is going to be so much better. Also, stop wearing so much fake tan.
What person dead or alive would you invite to a dinner party and why?
I’m probably supposed to say “oh I’d love to have dinner with Jackson Pollock, Cindy Sherman and Yves Saint Laurent” but to be honest nothing beats a good meal with my partner Karl, family and friends.
All images by James Little Photography
Styling by Rebecca Blithe