On collaboration and the creative process


Having never designed anything before (because, hello, I’m not a designer) or even worked on a designer collaboration, it has been a truly fascinating experience working with Shaun Samson on Peroni Collaborazioni.

To recap, this project began back in the summer when Peroni approached me (along with Susie Bubble and Emily from Fashion Foie Gras) to take part in this project where we would each design a unique piece that represented a new vision of Italian style together with our choice of emerging designer. When I put Shaun Samson’s name on the shortlist, I really wanted him to say yes but actually expected him to say no. The recently graduated MA designer had already won the highly coveted International Talent Support Prize in Trieste, wowed the press with his accomplished graduate collection and was down on the LFW schedule for the SS12 Man show in September. So why would he want to overload his to-do list by collaborating with someone he had never heard of?

Ah but he did say yes and so we embarked on this journey together. What has been most rewarding is witnessing a designer’s process. Unlike many creatives, Shaun doesn’t work much with visual references, he prefers the hands-on approach, playing with materials, techniques and chemicals to create his own fabrics. For our project, he has literally worked through the night experimenting before doing a day’s filming where we’d bat ideas back and forth and make decisions. And what drives him is the creativity and curiosity of the process itself which is a joy to experience. Through our meetings, phone chats and texts, I have also witnessed the reality of a young emerging designer who has to constantly juggle shows, shoots, showroom appointments, trade shows, orders, balance sheets, interviews and on and on, pretty much single handedly – although of course with friends, mentors and interns chipping in. So this journey has been enlightening not just from the point of view of how something gets designed (let me be clear, I have not picked up a single pin or thread, all the physical work has been Shaun’s) but how one keeps everything else ticking along as well.

This evening will see the culmination of the nine week Peroni Collaborazioni project (see Susie’s here and Emily’s here) as all our finished pieces are unveiled to a gathering of guests. Until then, I will leave you with this video that shows a final glimpse of the work in progress,  including Shaun’s awesome nine-layered fabric…

By the way, if you’re interested in Italian style as a subject (and as I mentioned in a previous post, Italian style is totally having a moment right now), this Guardian webchat by Anna Battista is well worth a read, especially the comments on Italian manufacturing …

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2 Responses to On collaboration and the creative process

  1. Rene Walrus says:

    How exciting I can’t wait to see the final results! I love a creative collaboration: http://tiarastrash.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/match-made-in-heaven/

  2. Pingback: Peroni Collaborazioni x Disney Roller Girl | Joyn

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