Sell Without Selling Out

We talked to fashion professionals about how they balance artistic creativity and commercial pressures.

Words by Judith Achumba-Wöllenstein

If you have been on the journey with us for the last six months, you may know by now that fashion psychology is a fairly new discipline. This means that while the number of evidence-based studies are on the rise, the nature of the academic procedure is keeping progress fairly slow. To illustrate, the process from initial conception to official publication in an academic journal often takes many years. This is in part due to the efforts to comply with ethical obligations — psychology deals with real people after all, and their wellbeing must be protected at all costs. In addition, the methods employed in psychological research are rigorous, placing immense importance on peer review amongst other common practices in order to ensure that the objectivity of the results can be guaranteed. This means that our state of knowledge, in reality, is years ahead of what we think we know right now, which for obvious reasons poses challenges when staying on top of the quick pace of the fashion industry and the constantly changing cultural and societal currents is the goal.

In contrast, some of the research we have presented to you through HAJINSKY thus far has been primary research that has not yet been published academically, because we want to deliver this knowledge, anchored in psychological theories, to those involved in fashion in a more responsive way, creating a direct dialogue with professionals at the get-go. By giving room for their thoughts, emotions and behaviours on our platform and allowing these responses to inform our research process, we aim to provide helpful and practical insights to our audience.

How do balance artisitic creativity and commercial pressure?

In his last article “The Balancing Act of Fashion Business”, Pak Chiu addressed the challenge of balancing artistic creativity with the commercial demands of fashion business. His observations pointed to the conclusion that artistic creativity in fashion (in his research exemplified by the more creative and edgy pieces of a collection), serves as a “teaser to the main event, creating excitement for the otherwise more classic pieces that carried the real money-making appeal”. We felt that this topic demanded a deeper dialogue and decided to reach out to some of the creative talents we admire, asking them to share with us how they navigate their love for artistic creativity in the face of business priorities.

Besides gaining more meaningful insights on the topic, which will inform our future research, we also hope to build a platform that becomes a source of inspiration for fashion professionals, offering actionable steps on how to navigate the demands and opportunities of the day to day work in fashion.

“I try to balance my time between working on commercial projects to cover my living costs and creating authentic work for free through which I can gradually build a community of people with whom my work resonates.” — Simon Schmidt, Digital Creative ownwayofinspiration

"Adapt your creativity to the commercial nature of the industry or work as an artist and be prepared to face the same kind of financial challenges." — Michelle Urvall Nyrén, Textile Designer & Artistic Director at Ever Rêve

"I use photography as a creative, non-commercial outlet. Allowing my creativity to explore freely gives me inspiration, which I can then apply in business settings." — Marta Stella Brienza

"Creativity can flourish within constraints. The key is making sure that at the end I can still identify myself with the outcome." — Stephanie Johne, Author & Jewellery Designer Collective Womanmade


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