The Unique Way One Brand Approaches Collabs In The Age Of Instagram
When two become one.
If you’re looking to unearth inspiration, sometimes the search can be as easy as opening up your Instagram app and diving right in. So, it’s really not shocking to hear that social media has become an instrumental (and necessary) tool for people and brands to scale their presence. But, one of the major takeaways and perhaps the most rewarding elements of the platform is its ability to connect and help people collaborate in meaningful ways — whether on a personal or professional level.
And, on a recent trip to Portland with furniture brand Rejuvenation, I was particularly inspired by the fresh way it approaches its collaborations in this age — many of which were born out of a simple slip down the social-media rabbit hole and became full-blown collections soon after.
But, what’s so unique about their process is the folks and brands they select are not particularly driven by mass social numbers or impressions, but rather by the Rejuvenation’s team's taste and eye in identifying rising makers and design language. The team looks for folks who could fuse its "Pacific Northwest Modern" aesthetic with their own work in a way that organically highlights the materials and process. Often times, Rejuvenation will work with small Portland-based brands who often times haven't produced at the volume the brand does. "It starts with finding the right person," Evan Dublin, Rejuvenation’s director of design and strategy tells Lonny. "We don’t want to push someone too far outside of the comfort zone, but view it as an opportunity to work within a process that they haven’t worked in before."
A visit to Portland-based Pigeon Toe Ceramics is evidence to this statement. Rejuvenation tapped Lisa Jones of the Portland-based brand to work on a line of ceramic light fixtures — a new offering for Pigeon Toe in terms of product and scale. I watched on as she walked us through the process and discussed the benefits of working with a bigger brand like Rejuvenation.
With a variety of successful collaborations under its belt — from the aforementioned Pigeon Toe Ceramics to the wildly successful Cedar & Moss to personal favorite Portland-based design collective Folk — its latest is of similar roots. The Hillery Sproatt collaboration in its newly released holiday line was spawned after the design team encountered her work at Renegade Craft and shortly after reached out. Inspired by American folk art, Sproatt created a large-scale painting and the imagery was later broken down and applied to the collection. The result is a slew of ceramic, dishes, platters, and more that are hand-painted in Portugal.
When I asked Dublin if the rise of Instagram has made his job harder or easier, he says it’s a little bit of both. “It’s easier, because the platform is there, but finding unique people is hard,” he explains. Which kind of sums up our feelings about platform, as well. But if there's anything we learned from peeking into Rejuvenation's process it’s that it is a great reminder that collaboration and community is but a double-tap away.