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  • Writer's pictureHussain Zaidi

The power of community

It’s difficult to succeed when others are held back. Learn why creative communities are so important to creating impactful work that matters.

Fashion has the power to create communities, as well as exclude people from them. Knowing how to represent, join and navigate different communities ( ) in fashion is important as it helps you develop a sense of belonging with like-minded creatives who support and challenge each other. Whether you’re simply following an online community on Instagram ( ) or part of a collective, without these groups around you, it’s easy to feel like you’re on the outside looking in.

Find out below how to embrace creative communities to become part of something bigger.

Network within your own discipline

When building a team to work with, it’s easy to forget about meeting creatives who understand and share your discipline. That’s the power behind The Antwerp Six, ( a group of Belgian designers who graduated from Antwerp’s Royal Academy between 1980-81. Acting as a collective helped them access opportunities for their individual brands and the creatives who supported them. Instead of seeing each other as competitors, make friends with people in your field so you can share advice, opportunities and get second opinions on your work from creatives who best understand your area. You might even pair up on a project.

Join a bigger conversation

Although it’s developed a controversial reputation, Instagram account @dietprada ( calls out designers for copying – especially when a big, corporate brand or celebrity is taking ideas from emerging talent. Offering up humorous as well as educational content, the account allows its followers to feel like they’re part of a bigger movement against taking credit for someone else’s work. Look out for trending communities like this on Instagram so you can follow them and get connected to wider conversations in the industry.

Build your values into your work

There’s nothing worse than seeing a shoot that explores environmental issues with none of the brands used being sustainable. If you’re passionate about exploring sensitive themes such as sustainability, gender fluidity or racism through your work, speak to community groups or people who represent these causes. Better yet, represent them in your projects like photographer Nina Manandhar who’s been documenting the New Mod style of young Muslim women. Without taking this approach, you risk causing cultural appropriation in your work, which could offend certain community groups and damage your reputation. Embrace the communities you want to explore in your work so you can expand your network. It’ll mean developing ideas that are more authentic and well-rounded, too.

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