What I learned about creative collaborations from our new SUAKOKO collection

What I learned about creative collaborations from our new SUAKOKO collection

Posted by Charlene Dunbar on

Sooo, we're releasing are first collection made with custom-designed textiles! This has been a long-time dream of ours and we did it!! I say it with pride and excitement because it took a lot of God's provision, barreling through fear, roadblocks and "gee, I didn't think it would be this hard" to get there.
We decided to collaborate with Liberian textile designer Lovetta Conto (@contoconto) on the collection. Lovetta is based in New York, so we had to go from concept to finished product without ever meeting in person, using texts, Pinterest, calls and a bit of Facetime. Here's what I learned about creative (and remote) collaboration. 
  1. Be clear on what you want and what success looks like. 
    I made a mood board, but probably had way too many inspiration sources and things I wanted to see realized...in this one print! That means Lovetta (my textile designer) had to help filter my ideas and decide what was most important. In retrospect I should have pared down and prioritized my creative inputs more. Lovetta did a great job of presenting clear choices (tomato vs raspberry, splatter vs. polka dots) to converge on a design we'd be excited about.
  2. Be open to other perspectives and it being different from what you envisioned. 
    So true confession, I’m a bit stubborn when it comes to my creative vision. But I found that missed out on the power of collaboration (fresh ideas, a different POV and a shared burden) when I was too rigid. Working with Lovetta on the print designs opened me up to fresh creative references and techniques needed to get to the ideal textile print. It’s important to be open to ideas that are not your own because that releases more good ideas and builds trust with your partner in crime. 
  3. Done beats perfect every single time.                                             When you’re collaborating, it’s important to stick to your timeline. In the newness of creating a print from scratch, it was easy to hem and haw and obsess until things were perfect. Problem is, deadlines don’t really care about whether that splatter that is off by a few centimeters. We created gorgeous prints, but missed an important deadline. Keep the big picture in mind and don’t let perfection get in the way of releasing your amazing collaborative project to the world. 

What been your experience with creative collaborations? What do's and don't do you have with creating over long distance? Don't forget, our new SUAKOKO collection drops on 3.27.20.


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