Interview with DIS-MADE, creative collective of illustrators, animators and artists.
All members pictured above. DIS-MADE Instragram and Facebook page.

The discovery of DIS-MADE happened while we were at an anti Halloween event. Our curiosity brought us to go downstairs where we saw a range of artists designing on clothes, however, there were two artist in-particular that caught our eye. Dani Marsh and Kit had such unique but beauitful styles that we made it our mission to find out more about them and to our surprise (and luck) they were apart of a collective, DIS-MADE, which included even more talent cross discipline artist.

After looking over their work we wanted DIS-MADE talk to us about working within a collective, advice on balancing group work vs personal work and their goals the collective.

1. In three words, how would you describe what a collective is?

Friendship, collaboration, respect!

2. How did the idea about forming DIS-MADE collective come about?

It was through one of our collective’s members, Kit. He had been considering beginning a collective for a while and approached us all individually about starting something together. This was the starting point for collaboration that took a life of its own and through everyone’s input became DIS-MADE. We are all in the same year on the BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration course at LCF and have known each other for almost 3 years now. We each really enjoy each other’s very different but complimentary styles. We also are all very driven professionally, and we get on well together, so we thought joining up to make a collective would be a great decision for each of us professionally and personally as we can support and advise each other.

3. What do you think makes DIS-MADE Collective different?

There aren’t many collectives we’ve seen with such a diverse range of styles and skills. Each of us have such distinct styles from each other and also from other practitioners within the fashion illustration industry, so we have a lot of different approaches on offer. For example: painted garments, animation, life drawing, traditional and digital illustration. The fact that we’ve formed from our degree course and we’ve all shared the same projects and similar experiences for the past two years (and now in third year) is also an advantage for us.

4. What are the pros and cons of being a collective and how do you balance them out?

The pros for us are that there are six of us therefore we all have our own contacts and come across our own opportunities, so if we see something that might not work for us then we can suggest it to someone else in the collective and they can then see if they want to work on it instead. There’s also a bigger impact when it comes to doing group projects as there are so many of us and we can all offer something different, or collaborative. Also within the collective we can provide support for each other in a difficult industry, giving each other advice on jobs, opinions on work and working rates. It also provides more of a platform and a brand for us all, and provides different opportunities for networking and collaboration.

The cons are maybe that we don’t always agree on things, but that’s the same with any group, especially creatives, you’re not always going to agree with everything! That’s the beauty of a collective as there are lots of points and opinions to consider. Sometimes the best ideas form after a disagreement! Also, all of us have lots of commitments as well as Dismade, so it’s making sure we all make time to represent and do work for the collective. Strong communication is key to making it work.

5. Does having a strong group of other creative storytellers around you make the creative journey easier?

It does as we can all bounce off each other. The whole creative process can be challenging so having a group that completely understands the struggles and is in the same position can really help your state of mind. If any of us are ever having trouble with a piece or need honest advice on it then we turn to the group and ask them to help us out.

6. How do you deal with the different styles and processes of each other when it comes to collaborating?

Even though we all have such unique styles, when we are doing any collaborative work we know whether to emphasise an element or tone it down so it all fits simultaneously. But there’ll always be a unique aspect of the piece that we’ve each brought forward in our own unique style.

7. Has it become challenging to form your own careers while being attached to a collective?

It’s early on and we haven’t graduated yet so the challenges haven’t become apparent, if there will be any that is. We don’t think it’ll have a negative effect though as were all very driven and committed to Dismade and to our individual careers so we think being part of this collective will help us.

8. What is the hardest lesson you’ve all learned as a collective that you can help another collective avoid making?

Charging the wrong price for our work and be consistent with working on yourselves, whether it’s turning up to events together, having meetings and keeping up with social media accounts.

9. What tips would you give to a group of creative storytellers who want to form their own collective?

Do it! As long as you’ll be dedicated and willing to work hard to make sure you all have success. Make sure to prioritise, plan and communication and patience are also very important!

10. What is the end goal for DIS-MADE collective?

To each have a strong presence in the industry, helping each other and growing together to make sure we are all satisfied and in the creative setting that we each want to be in post university. In the near future we hope to have our first exhibition as a collective and a book of our work coming out, so look out for that happening soon!

Written by Shaneika Johnson-Simms

All images by DIS-MADE