Collaboration In The Fashion World Means Free

Now I have been in this fashion industry for a while to know that when I get an e-mail asking, would you like to collaborate with us? I know that they are meaning, can you do it for free. Hands up I’ve been there and for a long time I have been working for free. It makes sense to begin with as it’s a way of building trust. In the fashion industry, it’s a way of working with talent and establishing yourself. I write from experience and also my heart goes out to people who are being taken advantage of. Over the last two years, I have honoured talent and encouraged everyone I have have met. But when is it enough to realize that when you are working for free or collaborating become non effective? The first advice is to think about how the collaboration can work for everyone’s gain. For I find that if you keep selling your services or product for free, then there is a point where you are devaluing yourself. In the long run it can work against you and your self esteem. More so, a clear sign the business model is not working. Also that it is not benefiting anyone.

Plume Angel Feathers The Shard London Luxury Week London 2015.gracie opulanza (1)

How Can Collaborating Benefit You?

To make money in the fashion industry is hard work. The amount of people collaborating is astounding. The amount of people not making money is even more remarkable in the fashion industry. I do ponder how some people are surviving out there? I see people crying and feeling disillusioned with it all. Trying to get noticed as the next top model, the next top designer. I am noticing a lot of people are very much like sheep and doing the same thing because they think it’s the only way. But on reflection more so these days, you need to be thinking outside that fashion box more and more. Take a lot of risks and be very innovative.

Why Give Your Product For Free?

How many younger designers are collaborating and working hard and loaning their clothes out for free? Who is gaining and who is left out of pocket? These are questions you need to ask yourself every week. Yes it’s great to get your clothes out there for all to notice. However, make sure that who you are loaning it to are people with influence, and make sure the collaboration is working for you. Make sure the person wearing your clothes has a platform for all those to see. For me, an up and coming celebrity or an up and coming artist with strong influential online blog or social media network is a good start. Get them to tweet to all those watching. Get them to have a shoot with them on the day or night in action. Make sure that the clothes you gave out for free end up on an influential website with a link back or in a printed magazine.

MenStyleFashion bentley GT Continental convertible Spped 2016 (6)

Social Network – Do You Understand The Power?

What is the solution to everyone out there collaborating? I find if you sell yourself cheap, you will end up being stone cold broke and worn out. Ask yourself, is this person enhancing me or draining me? What are the benefits of doing it? Why are you collaborating? How is it helping me grow my business? One issue is that I am finding that people are not understanding the power of social media and how it can drive traffic to your site. For young designers out there, the more social public media you get, the better it is for you. When someone is asking you to collaborate, take a look how effective they are on the internet.

The way you can see if a site is powerful is to have a look at its Alexa traffic ranking. In simple terms, this means a rough measure of a website’s popularity, compared with all the others out there on the internet, taking into account both the number of visitors and the number of pages viewed on each visit.
Have a look at their Twitter and Facebook engagement. When they are self promoting that they have been in a magazine, make sure the link they send you is credible. Remember you’re only as good as your followers and their support.

Shangri-La at The Shard Hotel menstylefashion Luxury Week London.jpg Bentley

Be Aware – You Can Buy Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers

I never knew you could do this. So it’s a real shame that people do this. The clear way to see if they have a real platform is just check out their comments on both sites. You will see clearly if they have bought their social media. If they have, then stay clear away, as they are promoting who they really are; a wannabe.

You can do a Twitter check with Status People and find out how many fake or inactive accounts they have. As for Facebook, a really good measure is the engagement on the posts, the amount of comments and likes a post gets. Bought Facebook accounts do not engage.

In the fashion industry it’s tough. I feel for those who really have no idea how to do it. However, there is no other way than to work hard and research in this industry. Networking both at events and through social media can open so many doors. Again I have learnt so much in the last year.

Remember, never burn your bridges, it can be a small world after all. Also, don’t be afraid to say no. Ask yourself always, if I am going to do this collaboration, will I come away better off?

Will it keep on encouraging me to pursue my dream and if so, go for it. Finally, no matter what, NEVER GIVE UP.

Gracie Opulanza luxury week london.2015 menstylefashionjpg (7)

Luxury Week London MenStyleFashion 2015

I decided to create an event because my company MenStyleFashion has become such an influence on-line when it come to Social Media Marketing. You can see what we did here. A collaboration worth over £220,000. Paying clients too.

Gracie Opulanza luxury week london.2015 menstylefashionjpg (9)

When you work with someone makes sure it edifies you both. You can see my many David Gandy interviews here.


I have interviewed David Gandy many times with his permission