Rachel Freire


Written by James Read
06 Monday 06th December 2010

Rachel Freire is one of those young designers who is in great danger of making fashion interesting again through her styling, costume design and catwalk clothing. She's worked with Dazed and Confused, Beth Ditto, Mutoid Waste, Burberry and Pete Burns, but her images say much more than her client list.

Do you have a preference between working on TV, theatre and magazine styling?
Generally I prefer designing entire characters and the world they live in, be it concept images, theatrical characters or performers' costumes. Film works better for me as I love details whereas theatre tends to focus more on large scale dramatic effect.


Some of the things I find myself doing are most surreal, like giving someone a crown of thorns and making them bleed from their eyes. Or sitting in an American backwater making clear plastic and gold leather horse costumes to take out into the desert for my favourite ladies to wear. I really loved building a circus in Norway where I got to live for a month in a log cabin on the side of a fjord.


What has been your favourite project?
I think one of my favourites would be my mythical creatures, a series of filmic images I’m making with photographer Nathan Gallagher who is a genius with light and atmosphere. They are how I would imagine these creatures living in today's world - like my mermaid shooting smack on the banks of the Thames. I think that's what she'd be up to if she lived in our river; it’s a bit of a mess! We just shot another - the tooth fairy with a bloody pair of pliers, stealing children’s teeth! Next we'll be doing a fawn and a Minotaur.

Smackmaid captured for the June edition of the Illustrated Ape's Urban Apocalypse edition, June 2008

And your most difficult endeavour?
Producing my first collection for London Fashion Week was probably my most testing adventure thus far. In my line of work there are always parameters: you follow a design, a character, a story. To then have full creative freedom with no boundaries is insane. You have to decide between the millions of ideas whizzing around in your head.

Do you have fairy ears? Tell us about them please!

I never really liked my ears, so in 2005 I decided to do something about it and have them cut off and made pointed. I had the procedure done in a tattoo parlour by body modification artist Lucas Zspira. It is the best money I have ever spent in the name of vanity.

Oh, and I kept my earlobes in a jar. I dried them out and they look like little bits of dried apricot. I keep them with my wisdom teeth.

Working with Joe Rush of Mutoid Waste

See more of Rachel's styling, costume design and clothing at here.

This article was originally published 27/04/09

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