i-D's winter essentials on folk collective's new leading ladies

We speak to Sunni Hart about her unique operation as Jo Duck shoots the girls of Folk in pieces for the coldest season.

by Savannah Anand-Sobti
22 July 2015, 2:05am

Photography Jo Duck

In Melbourne there exists a thriving community of creatives who believe in working for the greater good. They're the kind of people who're willing to share their contacts, lend a helping hand wherever it's needed and take on passion projects to explore talent and, in turn, create something really great. They're not only interested in one another as professionals but as individuals and personalities behind the work being made.

Sunni Hart is the founder of Folk Collective - a talent agency building essential bridges and connections between these creatives. Folk collective has quickly developed a catalogue full of diverse guys and girls with various talents and they're busy meeting demand and casting the people on their books in interesting projects and shoots. 

With a focus on making 'alternative' beauty accessible to the mainstream, we asked a few Folk Collective girls to don our favourite winter pieces to get you through the season in a shoot with Jo Duck and spoke to Sunni to find out more about what to expect from the collective next.

Chloe wears Kloke jacket, Lucy Folk bracelets and necklaces, Pearls Pom Pom keychain, Filles a Papa jeans, Topshop top and MM6 sneakers. 

In your own words how would you describe Folk Collective?
Folk Collective is a call to arms in a industry that is dramatically changing. It exists because there was a huge gap in the market for real and interesting talent that could bring personality to the product they were promoting. We've also started taking on creatives: photographers, filmmakers and stylists to encapsulate the entire Folk aesthetic. It's a modern, smart take on advertising, marketing and fashion.

So when you say 'what Folk promotes' what exactly does that mean?
Folk is challenging beauty ideals, industry standards and reconfiguring it in a way to change people's perception. Bringing it back to the ground level.

Helena wears Zambesi beanie, Pageant top, SOOT overalls and Lucy Folk bracelet. 

Why do you think Folk Collective has been so effective?
I feel like people were kind of starved for this kind of thing. It's been a long time coming because with the individual movement that's happening as a result of Instagram and social media generally, it just felt like the next step forward in the way of the world with the way things are starting to look. I think we stepped in at just the right time. A lot of people were waiting for something like this and it just hadn't happened yet. Also there's a reason why it's called a collective. It's a network of really smart, forward thinking people.

I think this makes it easier for big operations to understand - seeing it on one platform. It sort of simplifies it for the people who aren't involved directly Though it does seem alternative, bigger companies are starting to catch on to the concept too.

Serafina wears Coach coat and Lucy folk earrings. 

A lot of modelling agencies in Australia are not very diverse but Folk is. Do you actively implement that?
Absolutely, if we're going to claim the identity of a collective of real people then obviously we need to represent all types. I'd love to get a more diverse range of age groups in but we have a fairly good representation of cultures, genders and ethnicities. Our aesthetic is still specific in a way but within that there's a wide range of people. Essentially we look for people with personality and people from different subcultures, whatever that means, to fall under the folk umbrella.

Are you seeing many people coming to you that are swapping from other kinds of agencies and preferring your style?
Definitely, I think people are bored of seeing clothes horses and do want to find people who are going to help give whatever their passion is some edge and a story. 

Georgie wears Georgia Alice coat, Topshop top and Ambush necklace. 

 Is that also because of Instagram and real people gaining big followings?

I think that's a huge part of it. That's kind of why we started it as well. All the people I follow are real people and you see their whole lives. I would never follow a product or someone that was constantly trying to sell something. Most people are trying to sell something but it's in the way that you do it and there's a organic, genuine placement.

So you would use it a lot for casting too?
Definitely. So many people send me recommendations and it's always an Instagram page that I'm sent to look at. It's like a beautiful, real world gallery.

Bella wears Dress Up sweater, Acne skirt, Alexander Wang shoes, stylist's own faux fur scarf, Seb Brown earring, Underground Sundae earring worn as broach.

What kind of jobs are you mostly doing at the moment?
There's been so much fashion label and editorial stuff lately. I'm still keen to do advertising and I think that's where we're going to aim especially now that we're going to start representing creatives. It's going to be a whole Folk Collective production that you can use. That kind of thing will appeal to advertisers. We've been so strong in fashion as we've just been representing models and because fashion is more forward thinking and they get the kind of model we have on our books.

Alice wears Mr Mittens cardigan and sweater, SOOT beanie, Topshop socks and Ne-Net shoes. 

What would be your ultimate goal for Folk Collective in the next few years to come?
Well I actually had a dream last night about it! Basically Folk took form in an online catalogue where I represented the best people in the industry in terms of Folk's idea of talent and creatives. Photographers, stylists, hair and make up artists. It's an online interface where clients will have to log in and it'll be everyone's portfolios. I think that's my ultimate goal. I just dreamt it so it must be. I'd also love to go international. 


Text and styling by Savannah Anand-Sobti
Photography Jo Duck
Sarah Gibbs at Fur Hairdressing 
Make-up Rob Povey for Mecca Maxima
Photography assistance Keegan Gay 
Styling assistance Mia Schaumann
Hair assistance Tara Denny at Fur Hairdressing 
Models at Folk Collective Isabella Sweaney, Chloe La Roche, Serafina Vitacca, Alice Johnston, Helena Dong, Georgie Harkin 

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