creative collaborations are what make fashion great

​It takes two (or three, or four) to make a thing go right! In partnership with Mastered, we discuss the joy of creative collaboration.

by Lynette Nylander
23 June 2016, 12:50pm

As the saying goes, no man is an island, whilst we are great alone, we are even better together. The fashion industry is full of collaborators who met at the beginnings of their careers when money was scarce and dreams were big, and when they made it didn't forget where (and more crucially) with whom they started with.

Creative collaboration doesn't just make ideas better, it mimics nearly all working environments, where dedication and teamwork are married with creative flair to make something great. In fact, i-D's founding principles are built on teamwork and collaboration. When Terry Jones created i-D in August 1980, he was told no-one would want a zine that documented the style he saw on the streets. But he dared to think differently and when he commissioned the straight-up punk photography of Steve Johnston to bring his idea to life, they unknowingly went on to form the core DNA of i-D that we still follow today and change the landscape of independent publishing forever along with it.

Some of the most iconic pages in i-D have been result of duo, trios and whole tribes. Former i-D Fashion Director Edward Enninful started shooting a fresh South London face by the name of Naomi Campbell for the cover of the mag back in 1993 and the two have had a fruitful partnership ever since, making some of the most iconic fashion imagery of all time, working together on another five i-D covers and becoming best friends, with Naomi presenting Edward with his Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator in 2014.

Imagery courtesy of Hillier Bartley. 

Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley's partnership has seen them take the helm of Marc by Marc Jacobs as well as their own namesake label Hillier Bartley, which has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2015. The pair were friends first and business partners later; their relationship goes back to 1999 where mutual friend and mega-stylist Katie Grand introduced them to each other at a Chelsea pub. Within a week Katie had begun working for Luella's eponymous label.

Collaboration in fashion is not a thing of the past either; newer generations of fashion collaborators are shaking up the status quo and turning the industry on its head. Our new favourite LA based duo Jalan and Jibril Durimel are twin brothers whose sunkissed images of Rejjie Snow and Keith Ape have brought sunshine to the latest issues of i-D and stylist and photographer pairing Theo Sion and Alice Goddard are partners in life and work, acting as boyfriend and girlfriend and a longtime stylist and photographer duo.

Photography Willy Vanderperre. Fashion Director Alastair McKimm. All clothing Vetements autumn/winter 16.

Or just take a look at the most important label right now. The Vetements team have made no mistakes with bringing their singular vision to their world stage. They've defied the status quo, taking creative director's Demna Gvasalia deconstructed sportswear inspired by his native Georgia and his nomadic upbringing in Ukraine, Russia, and Germany to the world stage and setting the industry alight. And he didn't do it alone. Along with his brother (and Vetements CEO) Guram and stylist Lotta Volkova, they have gone redefine contemporary luxury, even taking back control of when and how they show their collections which has had a ripple effect in the industry, with major players such as Burberry and Gucci following suit. Proof that when creative crews join forces and do things their way, might not just create clothes, they can start a revolution.

Teaming up with a colleague, family or a friend isn't just fun, it gives you the critical eye, objective advice and willingness to work hard you'll need to make it. Want to finesse the art of collaboration? Mastered, the talent company for creatives in fashion have launched a free short course for anyone who wants to learn how to collaborate better - with experts such as Nick Knight OBE, Alex Box and Marian Newman and brands such as Johnnie Walker and Patta on hand to help you build a team that will last a lifetime! Experts will help you work on execution of a shoot and images submitted by August 5th will be considered for publication on Read more about how you can enrol here - and remember, teamwork makes the dreamwork!

Find out more about Collaboration: Mastered and how to apply here!


Text Lynette Nylander
Photography Steven Klein, Styling Edward Enninful. 
[The Us Issue, no. 131, August 1994]