In 2020 we’ve seen collaboration take on new meaning, and responsibility. Take Prada appointing Raf Simons as co-creative director, for example, or Moncler’s many Genius collections. These cases view collaboration as a sustainability practice - one that fosters long-term relationships and partnerships with collaborators as new models - with benefit to brand, consumer and, hopefully, the planet. By moving away from hyper-consumerism and "drop" culture's binge-buying tendencies (where one-off limited-edition items are hyped to consumers and sold to small margins of loyal customers and those willing to wait in the lengthiest of lines), we can hopefully begin to look towards – or back at – a more considered consumerist future.
This also lightens the load for creatives churning out multiple collections per year by encouraging split workloads, a clever perspective favoured by Mrs. Prada herself. Which leads us to ask, what else can collaborations offer us in 2020 as consumers and creatives alike, and how can we use creative practice to build meaningful change on topics like sustainability and social justice?
At the upcoming Melbourne Design Week and Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, RUSSH Magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Jess Blanch, will lead a panel of four leading designers, creatives and thinkers to explore this very subject, Kit Willow of KITX, Australian artist Anna-Wili Highfield, Communications Collective's Genevieve Brannigan and Ukranian-Australian artist Stanislava Pinchuk, often known by her pseudonym, Miso, will examine the cross-sector collaborations that are currently sparking action. “I think artists are here to start conversations and respond to contradictions and nuances in the world," says Miso. "Inspiration for me is tied up in international relations, geopolitics and conflict - but also from fashion, architecture and literature. There is real power in bringing challenging ideas into your work and starting conversations in a new way.”
The event will be held on the evening of March 12 at the NGV, where Blanch will moderate the panel with the strong belief that creatives are in a position to mobilise their community on social and cultural issues posing that “The emotional connection we have with art, in all its forms - from visual arts to fashion and music – is the most powerful initiator of collaboration," she says. "It reminds us that we are all in this together, and pushes us to strive for compassion over self-interest.”