what is teamwork in fashion?

And what makes a successful team when working on a show or shoot? We asked a handful of our favourite fashion designers, PRs, make-up artists, stylists and nail technicians.

by Holly Shackleton
17 December 2013, 8:55pm

Mary Katrantzou autumn/winter 13

If you walk on set during a fashion shoot, or peek behind the scenes at a catwalk show, you'll be amazed by the hub of activity. The fashion industry is one of most collaboratory in the world, it is also one of the buzziest! It takes a lot more people than you may realise to bring the fashion stories in this magazine, or a 15 minute catwalk show to life. In amongst the models, stylists, hairdressers, nail technicians, set designers and assistants, you'll find people from all walks of life, pooling together their talents and resources to help realise a shared creative goal. Hosting a fashion show or organising a fashion shoot can be stressful, often requiring weeks or months of preparation. But once they come together, they are also incredibly rewarding thanks to the teamwork needed to make it happen! We asked some of our favourite fashion designers, make-up artists, stylists and nail technicians what they think is the secret behind a great dynamic on set…

"Team work is about having a vision but letting it develop collectively through your team. There is something really powerful about working with different creative minds and a collection can only be as strong as the sum of it's parts. It is important to be open and listen to everyone's opinion no matter how junior their role is in a team and let that instigate a discussion. A successful team is one that works really tightly together and can challenge but also support each other. I always feel very proud of my team at the end of each show because I can see a big part of them in the collection and the influence they've had in my work but also in the growth of the brand." MARY KATRANTZOU, DESIGNER

"I love working with younger people in a team, as ideas are fresher and more innocent. When working with people who have been in industry for ages sometimes the result just refers to one person and not to the teamwork. My favorite team is Isamaya Ffrench (make-up), Anna Trevelyan (stylist) and Clemence Bollet (muse) because they understand me, I understand them and we want the same impact in the result of our performances or of our images." CHARLIE LE MINDU, HAIR STYLIST

"Teamwork is working with my hair dreamz brother Charlie Le Mindu. He's the Sonny to my Cher. Teamwork in fashion is essential - it allows you to blame someone else!" ISAMAYA FFRENCH, MAKE-UP ARTIST

"Teamwork is all about listening, recognising other people's strengths and good ideas but also not being afraid to take the lead and responsibility when you have to. Trust in each other, planning, a sense of humour, attention to detail and remembering that we are in the service industry and there to look after everyone involved." DANIEL MARKS, PARTNER & DIRECTOR, THE COMMUNICATIONS STORE

"To run a successful show it is important that the other creatives in your team understand your vision. I like to have fun backstage, it should never be too stressful, I'm not mad on diva temperament - it's all about calm and collected. It's such an exciting moment, we'll all have been working so hard for ages to build up that moment and I like it to be chilled. I love to have enthusiastic, creative souls around me and I am a firm believer in treating others as you'd like to be treated yourself. It's always nice to see familiar faces rooting for you. It takes so many people to make a show happen and you owe it to them to keep it cool. A contented team makes for a happy show and I can't imagine it any other way." HOLLY FULTON, DESIGNER

"When a team feels and is inspired by the creator and passionately work together to enhance every aspect of the vision without the interruption and complexity of ego trips, fussiness and the hype of adrenaline." MARIOS SCHWAB, DESIGNER

"A team is a necessity in fashion - one can't exist without the other - faith and belief are prerequisites.Knowing when to speak and when to listen." GARETH PUGH, DESIGNER

"Teamwork in fashion is appreciating the fact that someone is better than you. It is important that everyone involved believes in the project, that everyone respects each other's opinions and skills and that you keep improving until everyone is proud of the outcome. It is rare to find that connection where you don't have to say much to be on the same page, this is essential to me. It is equally essential to laugh at the same things and have the same approach to a stressful situation." ASTRID ANDERSEN, DESIGNER

"A great team is when everyone feels immersed in the energy and understanding of the work and the goal, and through that synergy of hard graft, dedication, determination and loyalty, the best and most satisfying results are accomplished..." PAM HOGG, DESIGNER

"Leaving your ego at the door is a good thing, shoots and shows can be so tense and are such a odd environment. Keeping your focus and not losing your sense of humour are important. I can't stand anything where people feel excluded, like whispering on set. I have a fantastic team and only work with people I can have a laugh with, but who also are really committed. I'm sure I can be a nightmare sometimes, but everyone understands that we all care about the work and that's what matters. Everyone is involved in making the work not just me. I learnt so much from assisting people before I had my own label, you have to have a good relationship with your team otherwise it starts to show in the work, also it makes going to work much more pleasurable!" CHRISTOPHER SHANNON, DESIGNER

"It really depends, my team is very small, we work closely together, collaborate with other creatives, exchange ideas, visions, brainstorm, find solutions. This is probably the best part of my job and makes a really strong team. A dedicated team of people from dressmakers to patterncutters, students and core staff are the most important thing for a creative to be able to achieve his vision." RICHARD NICOLL, DESIGNER

"We are of the opinion that you can't have a successful show or shoot without teamwork. All the components work together and BAM! Backstage everyone is important and we pride ourselves on, we hope, making each person feel that from the intern to the hairdresser to the events staff. Egos can be left at the door, thank you. We'll think twice about working with someone again should that not happen because life is stressful enough without offering yourself up to more or it. We asked the models for our LCM spring/summer 14 to smile. Yep, smile! Who'dda thought! Be happy, own the catwalk with an upbeat confidence! Only if they felt like it though, we didn't want it to look forced. And off they went. It's doubtful that we would have had the natural beaming we had if the boys hadn't felt at ease. It was so great that they got the mood of SIBLING. Now that is perfect team work!" COZETTE MCCREERY, SIBLING, DESIGNER

"A team is a group of individuals, each one has his own experience and his own vision but the common energy they generate creates ideas and creative projects. In my opinion, there is no key to success. If it was a recipe it would be known and everyone could do it. Success obtained by creativity is not given to everyone, it's called talent." KUKI DE SALVERTES, CO-FOUNDER OF TOTEM FASHION 

"Teamwork is keeping the focus of everyone you are working with on the vision of the designer. Collectively expressing his or her point of view is the gold medal for any team in fashion isn't it?" ED FILIPOWSKI, PRESIDENT OF KCD WORLDWIDE

"Teamwork is when everyone involved brings something to the table, and the when the team understands the common ground. It's hard to explain the texture of hair or the mood of an eye, a good teams just knows how to get there and when things feel right and how to interpret references so they feel new. A shared sense of humour always helps that process!" CATHY KASTERINE, STYLIST

"Teamwork on a fashion show? It's everything. A fashion show takes a long time to bring together… it's like a movie, it's like a great relationship. I'm very lucky to have an amazing team. We have been together for around 15 years and it is still as exciting and inspiring. You definitely need time; people not only have to be professional. but they have to be quick to read your mind and you theirs. Again, just like in a great relationship! You have to trust your team and have them trust you. Teamwork is the key to success, like in everything. A show or a shoot is a mix of extremities - you go from one extreme to another, and you have to love the variety and energy it brings. The readiness of a team to celebrate this is what makes an amazing team." ALEXANDRE DE BETAK, CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND PRODUCER, BUREAU BETAK

"On a shoot, the relationship between the photographer, stylist, hairstylist and make-up artist creates an energy and vision that is shared and translated onto a living, breathing canvas - the model. The style of the magazine, the feel of the photographer's images, along with the opportunity to collaborate with the stylist enables you to take that thread and go in a search of your own references hence bringing the most you can to the shoot. Preparation before the shoot allows visual communication and a shared direction. Having that jump starts the pace and gives freedom to create. Being part of a team that evolves their concept, that's when the magic starts to happen!" TINA OUTEN, HAIR STYLIST

"Good energy, listen to the team, attention to details and keep it fun makes a great team! So does good music!!" MARI OHASHI, HAIR STYLIST

"Great teamwork is essential in fashion. The key elements to teamwork in particular is working as a team and not as an individual, realising peoples qualities and weakness so they can be trained in the right areas and being aware that not everyone will have the same abilities and delegate those skills and responsibilities wisely to enhance the team and help it run smoothly. It is also key to have a have a good team leader or manager within a team who has the skill and experience to delegate the roles correctly, being aware that each person in a team will have a very important role to play and no role is any more important than another.

When working on a fashion show or shoot, it can be an extremely stressful working environment. What makes it successful is regular training and practise and individual team members being able to follow instructions clearly, in what can sometimes be a very chaotic environment. It is very important to have a manager overseeing the team and organising a system so it runs smoothly. It is also crucial for team members to follow the instructions of the team leader and not think for themselves as this is when it stops being a team. What is key and essential to making a show or shoot happen, which can include not just your own team but various teams working together such as hair, make up and production all working together with the same vision to achieve the same result. It is not about boosting an individuals ego but mutual respect and everybody working together." MARTIN CULLEN, HAIR STYLIST

"A fashion shoot or show entirely depends on the input of everyone involved, one can't work without the other. The creative decisions are part of the team work as well as everybody bringing their expertise and making it all come together. You naturally navigate towards people who you work well with and share the same vision with. The relationships that develop from that are so important, that's how a team comes together." LOTTEN HOLMQVIST, MAKE-UP ARTIST

"Some of the best teams I have worked with have an innate ability to share a level or type of taste that can bring an image to life, this taste cant be defined, its almost a feeling that's shared and felt. It's this sharing and consistency of taste that allows each person their part in creating an image that feels like team work to me." LUKE HERSHESON, HAIR STYLIST

"It's all about collaboration, being able to work together as a team in the creative process. I love working on shows meeting with the designers and their creative team bouncing ideas of how the look should be for the season. It's about being open and following those intuitive threads to help create an exciting and iconic image both for the shows and fashion shoots." DIANE KENDAL, MAKE-UP ARTIST

"Teamwork in fashion means never having to say you're sorry! Passion, hard work and a good sense of humor are importrant because things usually don't go the way you want them to… It is what makes collaboration rewarding and exciting." HAVANA LAFFITTE, STYLIST

"A team is extremely important in fashion, because it brings different forms of reality to the table. If a team works together like a football team, complementing each other, it will always come up genius." J.W. ANDERSON, DESIGNER

"Teamwork is about support, trust, and laughs. For a team to be successful, it needs individual respect and appreciation for each other's work. That, and laughs!" ASHLEY JAVIER, HAIR STYLIST 


Introduction Holly Shackleton
Photography Morgan O'Donovan

fashion show
JW Anderson
fashion shoot
hair stylist
Charlie Le Mindu
Gareth Pugh
Astrid Andersen
Christopher Shannon
sister by sibling
marios schwab
Richard Nicoll
Daniel Marks
fashion interviews
Pam Hogg
bureau betak
alexandre de betak
isamaya ffrench
holly shackleton
cathy kasterine
havana laffitte
luke hersheson
make-up artist
lotten holmqvist
holly fulton
cozette mccreery
mary katrantzou
tina outen
diane kendal
ed filipowski
kuki de salvertes
mari ohashi
martin cullen
the communications store