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Why some designer duos work and others don't

Why design duos work - or don't (Getty Images)
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After a couple of talked-about splits, partners in fashion design tell us that creative differences do crop up, but using that to better their output and segregating work domains is what keeps them going as a brand When designer duo Ashima and Leena split after two decades of working together, many in the fashion fraternity were shocked. Disagreements are often heard in the industry , but splits are not as common.

There are many partnerships that have stood the test of time, with the names of the partners becoming the brand's identity . Perhaps this is why Ashima and Leena's brand, as per sources, will continue business under the original banner, Ashima Leena. Sources say that the original brand has been taken over by Leena Singh, while Ashima has launched her own brand, and is planning to take it to other cities. A source says that the duo decided to part ways due to growing creative differences.

Jaipur-based designer Rohit Kamra went in for a rebranding after his brother Abhishek Kamra started to handle the business part of the company rather than designing. Rohit says, "We launched the brand in 2007 under the name Rohit and Abhishek. However, over the years, Abhishek has been handling the business aspects rather than designing. So, I rebranded under the name Rohit Kamra. Abhishek remains a part of the business but not for design purposes, shows and other related things."

Most fashion brands have only grown stronger in partnership, and as designer Rohit Gandhi puts it, "it is better to work with someone who thinks on the same line as you do, it is like two minds working together for the same goal."

Shantanu Mehra, of the duo Shantanu and Nikhil, says that growth and expansion can be better planned if you are working with a partner who is as passionate towards achieving the brand's goals as you are. "Creative differences can come up in every business, but those differences do not hamper the brand's growth. Creative people have a certain way of resolving differences we discuss ideas and take decisions that will help the brand grow," says Shantanu.

Paras, of the duo Paras and Shalini, feels that "the biggest advantage of working in a partnership is that you can take on more work, responsibility and can wisely divide areas which is ultimately the key to success in busi ness, as each partner is working in the area that heshe is best at."

Here are some commonly quoted partner ship examples from the fashion industry when we talk about brands that have sustained with joint names.

We're both dreamers - Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla

Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla got together when Sandeep moved from Delhi to Mumbai and they established a brand called Matahari in 1986. "It's been 30 years now and a lot has changed in terms of business and achievements, but we are still the same - we're both dreamers and I think that has helped us achieve what we set out to, 30 years ago. In '88-89 we rebranded as Jashn by Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla," says Sandeep.

Strike a balance - Gauri and Nainika Karan

Common interest in designing brought together the sisters who established their label in 2004 and did a big show the same year and "that was one landmark year" for both of them.Says Gauri, "Apart from that we love what we do, Nainika is a natural genius when it comes to sketching designing, construction and detail. I am probably more into organising and planning. While working in partnership this balance works best for the growth of the brand."

Divided work areas - Ashish, Viral and Vikrant

Husband-and-wife duo Ashish and Viral started business together in 2000. Viral's sister Viraj has been a part of it since then, working at the back end. In 2007, Vikrant entered the business and since then they have been known as the trio - Ashish, Viral and Vikrant. "We have divided zones and areas and work as per that. Four of us, including Viraj, have set areas, so there are lots of discussions and sharing of ideas, but chances of clashes are rare," says Ashish Parikh.

Each one of us has his core areas - Shantanu and Nikhil

From 1995-99, the two brothers were in the US.While Shantanu was in Ohio working in a corporate set-up, Nikhil was in LA studying fashion. "I just got bored of the Midwest experience and thought of taking a break and going to LA to look for a job. In LA, Nikhil presented his final year collection which was a fusion of East and West and got a standing ovation. That caught my attention and changed my mind. From there on, I started thinking of having our own brand and nurturing it and I thought if I would fail at it, I could get into a job anytime. In 2000, we established our label, and since then, each one of us has his core area where we specialise and work on and that has helped the brand expand," says Shantanu.

Shared values and trust is very important - Abraham and Thakore

David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore have completed 22 years in business together. Batchmates at a design institute, the two went on their own ways after completing education, but got together to form a fashion label. "Shared values and trust is very important for any partnership to work. Then, one has to be honest and transparent in everything that he/she does. Kevin (Nigli) has also been an important part of the brand, but he joined later and has always been an important part of every decision that we take as a brand," shares David.

We think alike - Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna

The two came together to establish the brand in 1997 and Rohit says that back then they were the "one of the first designers to introduce slim fit shirts in India". In 1999, they launched a brand for formal women wear and "created a niche together in structured clothing." After working together for so many years, Rohit says that the two even think alike. "Mostly people are surprised when they get to know this, but on most things we have the same opinion and ideas. Yes, we fight a lot, but then the end result is always something that we are proud of."See more at:plus size formal dresses

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