Iam not sure if it is a thing about upbringing, or the wiring of the Nigerian society at large, but in the face of competition, we automatically think of how to beat anyone else at their game, and this is no different in the Nigerian fashion industry, sometimes collaboration is a better answer.
What if there are other possibilities? What if we can work together to promote our brands and achieve our goals? There is only one answer to all these “what ifs” and that is a Yes.
Collaboration is simply not saying “I can do it all by myself” and reaching out to other people with the skills and expertise you need to get things done excellently.
Collaboration opens you up as a brand to more possibilities, making your brand more global than local.
Mauvelli spoke with Mrs Atinuke Awobode, the Creative Director of Dress My Closet (DMC) on how she has collaborated to grow her brand in the last few months. She is a classic wedding and custom wear designer, and collaboration has worked for her brand.
How the Aso Oke collaboration came about
One major problem that designers and fashion entrepreneurs face is communication. Communicating ideas, intentions, brand message and so on, can prove difficult without the right tools or expertise in place.
A designer collaborating with a fashion illustrator can easily get her ideas known with precision, because no word of mouth can get that done effectively. A very good example is how Dress My Closet recently created an Aso-Oke wedding dress. She was able to communicate her ideas to her audience by collaborating with like minds.
She reached out to Agbeke Alaso oke who provided the Aso-oke fabric which was used in creating the beautiful piece and they have been able to create a piece hardly ever seen in the Nigerian fashion industry. She was also able to bring in Lamas Clothing Nigeria to create an aso-oke piece for the groom to support her bridal look; this helped make her message that aso-oke should not be stereotyped louder.
She made it more attractive to the young Nigerian bride who wouldn’t naturally give it a second look. DMC has been able to communicate to her audience that she is a creative brand that pushes boundaries, and it literally took a whole village to get this done.
How long did it take to make the Aso Oke Bridal?
Remember “One will chase a thousand, two will chase ten thousands”?. Imagine how much work can be done by a whole village of fashion entreprenueurs if they put their minds to it.
DMC had a team work on the Aso-oke design and they were able to pull it off in a short while because of the well-matched collaboration. The tasks of buying the fabric, drawing up the design, cutting the pattern and constructing the dress may have taken much longer if DMC took this on alone.
How did DMC reduce cost for the Aso Oke project?
Agbeke Alaso oke provided the fabric at no cost because the vision matched hers and she was ready and willing to be apart of it. In collaboration, progress cannot be made if your vision does not allign with the brands you collaborate with.
It might even cost you more, it will be like holding hands and trying to go in different directions, it will be counterproductive.
Collaborate with the right minds, who see what you see and are willing to give themselves to it.
Did the DMC brand grow as a result?
If you are able to achieve your goals within a short period, at lesser cost and are able to communicate your message effectively, your brand is inevitably headed for growth.
Collaboration is choosing smart work over hard work. DMC’s working with other like minds in achieving the brand’s goals for the year has given it more visibilty. At this rate of collaboration she might just become a haute couture brand some day soon.