Your career growth is highly tied to how strong you have built a network of friends, colleagues, business partners, etc. who want to help you succeed. The fashion industry is naturally a highly creative field. One of the best ways to build these relationships is through collaboration. Thus, forming partnerships and collaboration is the new currency.
Why Is Collaboration So Important?
Collaboration is important for many reasons.
- It gives you a different perspective
- You can validate your concepts
- You gain insight into other information you didn’t have before
- It gives you the chance to meet & work with others
- Your work becomes known to more people
A New Perspective
No matter what area of the fashion industry you work you cannot work in a vacuum. To come up with the most innovative ideas that will drive the business forward you have to share ideas. By working with others you have an opportunity to bounce ideas off of someone else. They may have a totally different point of view that you never thought of. This is useful information in the design process.
Another very important reason you should network and build collaboration partners is to validate your ideas. If you have an idea for a new product you need to validate that customers actually want this product and are willing to buy it. Collaborating with a group of prospective customers is a great way to confirm your proof of concept.
When choosing a prospective collaboration partner you want to look for someone who can bring their own different strengths and skill set to the partnership. Each person should have their own knowledge base to contribute to the project. This allows for each people to gain new information that the other is offering.
Collaborating is a natural networking opportunity. By regularly collaborating with others you are meeting and working with people outside of your usual circle of influence. This will grow your network and build your career.
Showcase Your Work
When you collaborate on different projects you are organically self-promoting your work. The people whom you have collaborated with are now aware of your work ethic, skills, and abilities. And they are naturally going to promote the project because they were involved as well. As they share about the project your work becomes know to more people.
Who Should You Collaborate With?
You can collaborate with just about anyone. There may be someone within your organization you hear is amazing at a particular thing. Or you might know a friend of a friend who is known for a particular skill. The main idea is that you are meeting and working with more people. The ideal collaboration partner would be someone you respect and who you can learn from.
A good place to start is tapping into your current network. Who do you already know that you could work with? Through these people, you can branch out and meet more people.
How To Get Started
Start by making a list of people you could possibly do a collaboration with. Think about the people you admire in your industry that you would like to work with. These people could be people within the organization or outside.
Next, brainstorm ideas for potential projects. These can vary in size and scope. Not every project has to be a huge deal. It could be simply working with someone to improve a process or coming up with ideas for the trims and packaging of a product.
Finally, contact the people on your list and pitch them your idea. You will be surprised how willing people will be to work with you. They will likely be honored that you thought of them. Building these relationships will be the single most important thing you do to help grow your career.
- Make a list of inspiring people currently in your network that you might want to partner with.
- Brainstorm ideas for possible collaboration ideas for each one.
- Reach out to your list and pitch the idea to them!