Words: Red Mosiane

The truth is, there is no such thing as a new idea, at least not in 2017. That might be hard to accept for those who have convinced themselves that they alone are the alpha and omega of creativity but we live in a world where everything has been done before in one form or the other. Our job as creatives of this day and age is to innovate past existing ideas and the key to genuine and effective innovation is collaboration.

More local creatives need to collaborate past the superficial social media performances in order to offer actual innovative products, designs, spaces, content, etc. instead of doing things falsely marketed as such. This means local creatives need to collaborate more from the idea stage all the way to the execution.

Recently, we have seen more creatives beginning to venture into collaborative projects. The problem thus far has been that in many ways, fashion creatives have only been collaborating in ways that are immediately convenient to them. For example, fashion designers printing works by various kinds of visual artists on to basic items of clothing with no added design detail and bloggers getting photographers to take photos of them for their blogs which are no different from those they are already posting. This is collaboration in its most basic form and is fuelled more by an individual’s desire to reduce the amount of work they personally have to put in instead of a goal to create the best possible content, products, etc. This is not effective because they use this as a scapegoat instead of seizing an opportunity to better both themselves and their work.

Chivas Regal X Laduma Ngxokolo collaboration

Instead, fashion creatives should rather go beyond their comfort zones to seek out and collaborate across mediums both in and out of the fashion sphere. Each sub-industry in fashion requires varying sets of skills and perspectives, there’s nobody who knows absolutely everything. This is why the kinds of collaborations we should be supporting and participating in are those which put a group of creatives of different mediums and perspectives into a melting pot where all can contribute from conception to execution. This will provide the industry with the innovative content we so desperately need.

There’s so many ways creatives can do this and contribute to the growth of the industry. Textile manufacturers could collaborate more with clothing designers to create and produce a wider variety of textiles locally like the multiple textiles Raf Simons has created with Kvadrat (a highly respected European textile manufacturer). Similarly doable, young fashion content creators – who are capable – can collaborate more with local brands and retailers to create a new experience that both their target markets would actually want to participate in similar to how Dover Street Market has collaborated with many young artists, designers, collectives, etc to create everything from installations to visual merchandising of the store spaces. These are just some of what should be blatantly obvious ways that have proven to be effective when executed by the right groupings of capable, passionate, and talented people in producing innovative results.

Dover Street Market

For this to work though, creatives in all fields must ensure that they are no longer swayed by numbers on the screen. They can utilize the internet to seek out other creatives outside of their comfort zone to collaborate with and approach them based solely on quality of work and whether or not their creative priorities and aesthetics can be a complimentary match.

Now is a better time than ever to take risks in fashion and all creative industries. All should come together in as many ways and disciplines as possible to actively contribute to helping the local fashion break past the rut of mediocrity. Innovative content is what everyone needs to push themselves to create and what we all in-turn need to support.