On the 17th of March, YCN welcomed Lazy Oaf founder, Gemma Shiel, and Grace Winteringham from PATTERNITY, to examine the creative potential for collaborations between brands.
On the 17th March, we explored the potential and particulars of brand collaboration with Gemma Shiel, founder and creative director of Lazy Oaf, and Grace Winteringham, one half of PATTERNITY. Along with an audience of YCN Members, industry professionals and fans of the brands, we heard Gemma recount her experiences of Lazy Oaf's clothing collaborations to date, noting what she'd learned along the way. Grace was able to offer an alternative perspective, showing shining examples of PATTERNITY's product collaborations with a variety of makers including rug-weavers, furniture designers and ceramicists. Following their presentations, YCN's Insights Editor Sheena Patel lead a discussion around interesting brand collaborations, inviting the audience to participate with their questions and comments.
Six things we learned
1. Think big
Anything is possible. Lazy Oaf's first licensed brand collaboration – with DC Comics – was born from Gemma sketching a mashup of the Batman logo with Mickey Mouse ears. When warned off this initial idea by her team due to copyright laws, Gemma sought out a meeting with Warner Brothers and convinced them to agree to a collaboration, resulting in one of Lazy Oaf's best-selling collections – adorned with official Batman motifs.
2. Think outside the box
Brand collaboration doesn't always have to be predictable, and sometimes the most creative and exciting results can come from going a bit left field. Grace named her favourite PATTERNITY collaboration to be last year's gift shop collection for London's Imperial War Museum, which was inspired by the irregular graphic patterns painted onto war ships to confuse the enemy.
3. Collaborate carefully
Poor communication and culture clashes are typical causes of collaborations gone awry. Choosing the right collaborator can be tricky, so when brands team up, compatibility needs to be fully considered on both sides. And if it's not working — end it quickly.
4. Trust your instinct
Brand owners will have an innate and immediate sense of whether or not a collaboration will work – sometimes it just feels right. The most successful collaborations for Lazy Oaf and Patternity have often been the ideas that the founders were genuinely most excited and fired up about from the very beginning.
5. Get everything in writing
Contracts are essential. Ensure that each side knows exactly what they're getting out the collaboration in terms of production run, time scales, creative input, royalties, licenses and profit. Being honest and transparent with each other about these expectations upfront will save any difficulties later on.
6. Have fun
Collaborations are an opportunity to explore and experiment with new ideas, materials, markets and audiences – to take your work in a direction you might not otherwise have considered. Lazy Oaf's partnership with Nasty Gal was an opportunity to play with completely new styles of clothing, while their upcoming collaboration with Pick Me Up sees the brand working with individual artists for the first time. A successful pairing brings with it a sense of freedom, and a chance to inject new life and enthusiasm into a product or brand.
We would like to thank Gemma and Grace for enlightening and entertaining us all this evening.
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Location:72 Rivington Street,
London, EC2A 3AY,
Start:17th March, 2015 at 6:30pm
End:17th March, 2015 at 8:30pm