By Gabby Neal

By definition, to collaborate means to work jointly on an activity or project.

And we all know what a collaboration in fashion looks like. It’s where a designer teams up with another individual to cross-promote and co-design a new product. Typically speaking, another person of influence.

They’re unique partnerships which for most businesses if done right, are able to generate enough hype and brand awareness through the cross-promotional efforts, that the brand is able to sustain relevance. Especially in an age where fast fashion dominates society. It can be a powerful marketing tool opening your product up to a whole new consumer database.

Yet considering the saturation of influencer ‘x’ collaborations (namely models and celebrity personalities) on Instagram, it’s been a very warm welcome to see a lot more ‘conscious’ collaborations come out of the woodworks in 2018. Elevated partnerships, not just a clear money grab, rather a bit more thoughtful on the synergies connecting the two, working toward a wider intent.

Like earlier this year, when we saw sportswear powerhouse Nike team up with both celebrity Artistic Director Virgil Abloh and tennis superstar Serina Williams. Together, not only were they able to produce two show-stopping U.S open looks, but with Nike’s technologies in product development, able to challenge and re-define what sports apparel can look like in 2018.

…designing for optimum performance was always a priority. The tulled dress flares out to accommodate the athletic moves in Williams’ arsenal, while the supportive-mesh fit hugs her body and simultaneously keeps her cool for the hot New York City evenings.

future of collaborations

future of collaborations

Similarly, the recent Stella McCartney & Adidas drop which landed in September. Although they didn’t necessarily conceptualise an entirely new design, they re-defined the classic Stan Smith’s, changed out the real leather to faux leather as well as swap to non-animal based glues. Having an ethical and sustainable drive behind the collection, has elevated its success.

‘Using non-leather materials is the cornerstone of our ethos as part of our ongoing commitment to cruelty-free fashion. It occurred to me that you really couldn’t tell the difference between the real leather and the faux leather pair. I could not help but think [of] how many animals’ lives could be saved, I thought this would be a great way to reach a really wide audience and enable them to understand that you don’t have to have leather shoes or animal-based glues in order to have an incredible, iconic product,’future of collaborations

And in our very own backyard, here in Sydney, the synergies between brands and their collaborating partners are only strengthening. Speaking to Lucy Hinckfuss one of the designers behind Sydney based label Ten Pieces as to why they partnered with local artist Jamie Preisz on their latest release (which is now available at their guerrilla pop-up store in Bondi FYI), ‘Ten Pieces is a lifestyle brand, so elements of music and art drive the themes of our collection. So we wanted to collaborate with an artist that is conceptual and aesthetic.’.

Upon reflection as to why an art collab, Jamie suggests ‘Art and culture feeds a side of us that is not easily defined. It’s a part of our humanity and given the platform, artists in collaboration with the right people can have a substantial and lasting impact on our collective consciousness’.

future of collaborations

future of collaborations

Things such as art, technology and the development of cultural beliefs and ideology are only furthering brands connection to the consumer.

And you can be sure to expect in 2019 we’ll be seeing a lot more.