Collaboration is the New Competition

In competition, people are always at each other’s throats, constantly trying to undermine each other in order to gain an edge. In a lot of cutthroat industries, this is seen as the only way to get ahead.

We disagree.

Particularly in the creative world, joining forces to create a work of art typically yields better results than everyone separately attempting to produce the best work themselves. Collaboration is the new competition because everyone involved benefits individually and collectively.

_DSC1323We personally love collaborating with other creatives in our area, and here are some of their and our thoughts on the value and importance of collaboration:

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“For me, collaboration is a necessary and very beautiful part of creating art. You push boundaries, experiment, and experience the unknown.

By laterally sharing ideas, you create something special. Some of my favorite art was created through collaboration.”

-Durrell Green, local photographer specializing in the art of film photography.

 

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For ten years, I was on a Destination Imagination team, a program designed to foster innovation and creativity and build teamwork skills. In third grade, I was placed on a team of seven others, and we had to work together to solve challenges. Seven distinct minds produce different solutions, so we had to find a way to use our unique skills to work together.

It was difficult at times because our team was ever changing, but in the end we always found a way to work together. Without this team, we would never have achieved second place on a national level, but more importantly I would never have had the opportunity to create with such talented individuals.

That’s when I learned the power of collaboration.

When we bring our skills together, it is incredible how much we can succeed.

-H

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“Collaboration for me has always been about the visual goal of both sides.

As a model, you are given a product to showcase, however you are given the freedom to express yourself through the clothing or product.

Collaborations are important to me because they allow me to give my spin on the product, be completely unique, and take control of my vision while still sharing ideas and thoughts with others, which is extremely beautiful to experience.”

-Deon, model and style influencer.

 

 

 

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“Collaboration is everything in the creative world. Louis Vuitton and Supreme; Kygo and Selena Gomez; even Victoria Beckham and Target. Putting two or more minds together to create one tour de force will inevitably be better than anything one mind could do alone.

I personally would have never been able to get into the fashion world if it hadn’t been for collaboration. I did not have a camera growing up (and I actually still don’t), so if I had not worked with other photographers, I would have been limited to only the selfies on my phone (shudder).Coming together allows you to take full advantage of individual strengths while neutralizing individual weaknesses.

The highest form of art is being able to create and be apart of something that is greater than yourself.

– S

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“Collaboration gives creatives a stress-free thinking process because they are not the only ones doing the thinking. It allows for expression amongst artists because it brings the best out of you.

It gives whatever you are creating a different tone, a different emotion because it is not your own.

It is a collective something that one creative would never be able to do alone because everyone is different.”

-Demetrius McCullough, Central Arkansas photographer focusing in portraiture and fashion.

We live in a highly individualistic society, and in a lot of ways, that is a good thing.

Paving your own way through life is one of the core principles that makes America, America. But we need to start seeing the value of the collective because no one can achieve their full potential on their own.

The creative world has long seen the merit of collaboration, and if we truly want to make America great again, it’s about damn time the rest of us did as well.

“In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.”
Charles Darwin

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Sabrina’s Outfit Details

Top: Goodwill

Pants: Goodwill (refashioned by Awaken Atelier)

Shoes: Steve Madden

Earrings: HipSway

Sunglasses: Aldo

Purse: BCBG

Watch: Plato’s Closet

Hannah’s Outfit Details

Top: H&M

Overalls: Forever 21

Shoes: Vince Camuto

Earrings: Express

Sunglasses: TJ Maxx

Clutch: Gift

Photos by: the Green Brothers

Dress With Purpose

To us, dress with purpose means to present yourself to the world with intention.

Intention to freely express your true self.

To empower yourself and inspire those around you.

And to shine a light on the issues that are near to your heart.

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For me, one of the biggest issues I want to work towards resolving is the disastrous effect that fast fashion has had on the environment and garment workers in developing countries.

When you buy a brand-new shirt for $4, do you ever think about how little the person who made that shirt is being paid? Or the effect of those harsh chemicals on the land and water sources of the countries where it is being produced? As someone who’s working to develop a fashion brand, I know you cannot do what is right and also sell clothing for less than the price of a sandwich.

-S

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I used to not care about where my clothing came from, and I never thought twice about what it did to the environment around me or to other families, but now that my eyes have been opened to the heartache it can bestow on others, I can never go back. The more I learned about fast fashion, the more I realized how deeply it collided with my values.

But I still love fashion, and I can’t give it up. I knew there had to be a way to continue buying clothing on a regular basis without sacrificing my principles.

-H

We feel passionately about conserving the environment because, well, it’s the only home we’ve got. We were worried about taking a strong stance on this issue because we do buy clothing from H&M and Forever 21 and feature it on our blog, so on the surface, some people could say we’re part of the problem.

We’ve considered abstaining from purchasing anything from fast fashion retailers and only buying from companies that use ethical and sustainable practices, but we thought about it, and it would simply not be feasible for us.

Each of us only have about $100 a month (or less) to buy clothing, so we wouldn’t be able to buy even a single pair of jeans from Reformation or one pair of flats from Nisolo. It goes without saying that we definitely would not be able to run a fashion blog if we stuck to only those types of stores! We greatly admire those brands, and we think they’re doing amazing, game-changing things for the world of fashion, but they’re catering to a demographic that is a little more affluent than those of us who are still in school full-time.

We cannot wait until the day we can be like Emma Watson and have the money to fill our closets with only ethically, sustainably-produced clothing, but we’re not there yet. Call us hypocrites if you want, but there are more of us out there who are in the same boat than you might think.

DSC_1805 2This is exactly why we purchase clothing from Goodwill and transform those unappealing, outdated pieces into new ones that are fresh and stylish.

Millions of clothing items (that have a lot of potential!) are already in existence, so it’s incredibly wasteful to continue producing new clothing at our current rate while allowing those pieces to sit on a shelf or be turned into rags. It’s overwhelming to think about completely overhauling your buying habits to make your wardrobe 100% sustainable, and we think that’s why a lot of women avoid it. It’s difficult, it’s expensive, and at the end of the day, there aren’t nearly as many options to choose from.

This is precisely the reason we’re working to launch a brand that brings those unwanted pieces back into the mainstream by altering small details of them to make them fashionable again. We want other women like us to have the option to buy negative-waste clothing that falls into the same pricing category as Zara or the higher end of H&M.

Our brand, Awaken Atelier, which launches within the next few months, will feature pieces from thrift stores that have been updated to reflect modern trends like raw hems on jeans, embroidery on jackets, and low-backs on one piece swimsuits. Just know it’s okay if you haven’t boycotted Forever 21 completely. Make small changes in your life to make it more sustainable, like shopping at Goodwill when you’re looking for your summer wardrobe (or shopping at Awaken Atelier when it opens!). As you start to make more money, transition towards brands like Reformation when you’re shopping for an evening dress or a new pair of jeans. But don’t get discouraged if you can’t do everything you want to do when it comes to sustainability.

Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something- do your something.

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Sabrina’s Outfit Details:

Top: Goodwill- Refashioned by Awaken Atelier

Jeans: H&M

Jacket: Goodwill- Refashioned by Awaken Atelier

Shoes: Steve Madden

Earrings: H&M

Hannah’s Outfit Details:

Jeans: Target

Top: Goodwill- Refashioned by Awaken Atelier

Jacket: TJ Maxx

Shoes: Forever 21

Necklace: Rue 21

Glasses: EyeGlasses Direct