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The power of collectives and collaborations: Antwerp Six.


(Picture of Antwerp Six in a rare reunion: Source)

Today, before going on my date with The Bf to Helsinki Design Museum, I want to quickly write a note about the power of collectives and collaborations in the fashion world, and use Antwerp Six as an example.  I think most people will not understand what I’m talking about in this post, but I would really feel grateful if you do see my position.

Antwerp Six is essentially a collective by six designers which cements Antwerp as a fashion city on the global map. This excellent collaboration initiative is a direct result of systems thinking and a good knowledge of emergence logic.

You know, I know NOTHING about fashion as compared to “folks on the ground”.😀 I’d simply been blessed with many, many opportunities to do digital fashion marketing (especially luxury FaMa) and a knack at differentiating bullshit from the truth. So I tend to know how to write stuffs that go viral because they resonate with the masses.

Fashion and bridal are two topics that are close to heart, and then eventually I started to realise…actually maybe the masses don’t really give a damn about avant-garde fashion or couture. Fashion to the masses, perhaps, is a function of public relations and then networks.

Think about it: “Fashion is a function of public relations and then networks”. Does it not mean that the collective can be stronger than the individual, and does it not mean that strategic collaboration beats competition?

When we talk about competition, we are actually talking about something very terrible in positioning. If you are lost and don’t have a brand identity, then you’d move about in an empty space of being externally motivated. And it’s not as though you’d be successful.

You know why people/brands dare to collaborate? Because they already have a strong sense of identity. Competition is therefore not trying to bring your competitors down; it is working smart (and hard) to communicate, repeat, and get attention for who you are and what you stand for.

The main question now is how to strengthen your brand identity, either via association or repetition, in the most productive/ “lazy” way possible. Are we so used to linear thinking and logic that we forget the power of systems, fuzzy logic and emergent thinking? The thinking of labour theory of value: “Hey let’s put in X and we will get Y, because Y= aX+ b”.

Sorry, please do not tell me anything about “hard work” in accordance to linear logic now, I really hate this line of outdated thinking. I lament at time wasted in my past because I had strictly adhered to this logic.

By the way, girlbands and boybands in the music industry operate on the same logic too. No single artist will go for in his/her career if he/she strictly focuses on “linear logic” and quality of his/her music. 90% of success lies in public relations and subsequently networks.

Radical success here–in fashion and music– is based on systems logic. Not linear logic.


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