How a Startup Fashion Designer Can Collaborate With a Photographer, a Model, and a Makeup Artist ( Without Paying a Dime)

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen startup fashion designers create collections to be sold online, but because they couldn’t afford a photographer and a model, they try to improvise.

This is what they do.

They would place their wears on the floor, bring out their phone and snap.

It’s no bad idea anyway, but their chances of making enough sales is very slim.

And not only that, it could also bring about bad reputation to their brand.

But what if I tell you there’s another way out. A better one.

That you can work with a photographer, a model, and even a makeup artist on your next collection without paying them a dime.

This is how I got to know about it.

Well, this is no secret. Just that many people don’t know it’s possible.

Last year, I was planning to work on my collection, and I was thinking about using, at least two models to showcase my collection.

And there’s this friend of mine who’s a makeup artist and she usually work with models to showcase her work.

So I called her up, and I told her about my plans, especially how much it’s going to cost me to hire a photographer, and two models.

Her response surprised me.

She said I don’t need to spend a dime, and that all she’s been doing was collaborative work.

And this is exactly where we’re going to.

First, I want you to know that we are in the era of connection economy. That is, you can only grow by growing other people. In another way, you have to work together with people in order to grow.

Let me give you a perfect illustration of what collaborative work looks like.
Let’s say we have three guys who want travel to Lagos. Let’s call them Guy A, Guy B, and Guy C.

Guy A has a car, but can’t drive, and doesn’t have fuel in his car.
Guy B can provide fuel, but can’t drive.
Guy C can drive

Do you know if these guys work together, they will all get to Lagos.

The same thing also happens in the fashion industry. Especially if you’re just starting up and you want to gain publicity.

A model needs a photographer, a makeup artist, and a fashion designer in order to showcase him/herself.

A photographer needs a model, a makeup artist, and at times a fashion designer to also showcase his/her work.

Likewise a fashion designer would need a photographer, a model, a makeup artist, and sometimes a hairstylist.

Let’s now say you, as a fashion designer, collaborate with a photographer, a model, a makeup artist, and a hairstylist.

After the whole shoot, everyone of you would have copies each. So when you guys start showcasing your work online or wherever, you’ll mention and tag one another.

That’s why you see something like this at the bottom of a caption.

Photographer: ABC Pictures
Model: Adel Akah
Makeup Artist: EFG Signature
Hairstylist: HIJ

And in this case, money is not always involved.

But I still want to remind you that this only work effectively in a situation where everyone of you is yet to gain enough publicity.

But there are two challenges.

  1. How to find these guys.
  2. And how to get them to collaborate with you.

So let’s tackle this.


The perfect place is Instagram.

Let’s say for instance you’re looking for a photographer in Lagos. Search with the hash tag, #lagosphotographer.

So Instagram will bring you an endless list of photographers. Now start checking them one after the other.

The following elements are what you should look for:

1. Number of followers

Number of followers is also a determinant. Someone with 10k followers has already gained publicity. You have to look for something lesser. Someone with 300 or 500+ followers, but not more than 5000 is okay.

2. Number of posts

This tells us how much work they’ve done. Here, page with 50+ post, but not more than 200 also show the person is an upcoming.

3. Quality of work.

Check through the person’s work. Are they of good quality? Does it meet your satisfaction?

By the time you’re done, you should be having, at least, a list of ten photographers or whatever number you’re looking for.


When you have those names on your list, the next thing is to pitch them.

Your pitch can look like this:

Hi [name of the person],

I just came across your page, and I love everything I’ve seen so far. You’re really doing a great job.

My name is [your name] and I’m the CEO or Creative Director of [name of your brand]. My brand is just few months old. And I’m currently working on my next collection.

If you don’t mind, I would like us to engage in collaborative work to showcase my collection. That is, to work together in exchange for prints and photo credits on each other’s page. This will go a very long way in promoting our businesses.

I already have about three models and a makeup artist who are also ready to do this.

Please kindly let me know if you’ll be interested in this. Or if you don’t mind, I can come down to your studio to talk

Thanks in advance

Best regards

[your name]

You can tweak and send it to anyone you’re interested in collaborating with.

And you can’t know if it’s going to work until you try it out.

And don’t forget to do follow up. If you receive no response after 48hours, try to send another message ensuring if they read your message.

Do it like three times, and there’s still no response, move on. Life’s too short to hold on someone. There’s better opportunities ahead.

I have a good news for you before I go.

If you’re Ibadan based fashion designer, and you need a photographer, a model, a makeup artist, or a hairstylist for a collaborative work, and without paying a dime, kindly let me know.

I can help on that.

And if you’re a photographer, a model, a makeup artist, and you’re open for a collaborative work, kindly let us know in the comment section below.

And please don’t forget to include your location.

[ This article was originally published on my Facebook Platform ]

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