Working With Friends, A Brand of Loyalty
Loyalty, family, and building together.
"Loyalty is the first thing, then [comes] building your own family when you may not have your immediate family [around]."
For the past three years, Eugene Taylor Brand and Og. Brand have been mainstays of the local fashion/streetwear scene, with their pieces worn by various prolific Chicago musicians, such as Peter Cottontale, Nico Segal, and DJ King Marie. However, it wasn’t until this past November when Tesha Renee and Olivia Goodman, the respective creators of ETB and Og, stumbled upon something much greater with their collaboration, Work With Friends. With Miranda Govea, an experienced manager well-known in the entertainment scene, rounding out the trio, what was originally conceived as a collaborative effort between the two brands has now spawned a platform that has the potential to shape the future of Chicago’s burgeoning fashion community.
"We both make streetwear-driven products, we're competitors. She didn't have to do that for me, but she was my friend first."
The story of the collective’s creation is the very definition of friendship. In late 2016, Olivia contemplated giving fashion up entirely; however, it was Tesha who was able to pull her out of the creative funk she was experiencing. As Olivia puts it, "We both make streetwear-driven products, we're competitors. She didn't have to do that for me, but she was my friend first. She was like, 'Girl, start making your shit again.' The first step towards that was our collaboration, "Work With Your Friends"." Miranda was then brought along as she was able to help Tesha out of her own creative funk. The three, in turn, credit one another for pushing and motivating each other. As Tesha explains, the end goals for Work With Friends are “loyalty, family, [and] building together. Friendship [goes deep], so why wouldn’t you work with those people that you trust and know you can rely on?”
The ethos behind Work With Friends is as clear as its name, strengthened by the connection between the three creatives at the collective’s core. Tesha points at the aforementioned “competition” between ETB and Og as further proof of Work With Friends’ driving force: “I think it speaks volumes seeing Olivia and I working together […] and that’s really what it’s all about – people with the same common goal coming together to speak that one common goal into existence.” Olivia agrees, explaining that “the bonds you create just being friends are things that can be so beautifully transferred to creativity and execution of ideas,” explains Olivia. “If you can take action to say, ‘Hey, I want to work with you as my friend,’ not only is the process really fun at the end of the day, but it ends up being pure.” Miranda further elaborates, “Loyalty is the first thing, then [comes] building your own family when you may not have your immediate family [around]. I think all of us are so career-driven that we need that strong atmosphere, loyalty, family, and creativity.”
"Friendship [goes deep], so why wouldn’t you work with those people that you trust and know you can rely on?"
However, the trio hopes to take Work With Friends beyond just collaborative clothing pieces as they want to create and establish a platform that can help foster a stronger sense of community within the overarching Chicago fashion scene. “We [want to] promote loyal brands [and] a creative atmosphere to work with your friends,” Miranda explains. “Friendly competition is great, because it’s good for growth, but it’s not about competition with egos.” Ultimately, the trio intends on using Work With Friends as a fashion incubator of sorts to bring together all types of artists and creatives within the city. As Olivia adds, “We want to create a database for creatives where, for example, a photographer looking for a stylist can go to workwithyourfriends.com and find one they want to work with.” Tesha also elaborates on the lacking fashion community, hoping that Work With Friends can become “a hub where people feel comfortable building together, sharing resources, and [creating] partnerships.” Furthermore, they want to establish mentorships for aspiring designers to serve as the role models they didn’t have themselves. “We want to be able to lead and teach from our experiences, but we also have things we have to learn. We can still learn from the 15-year-old who started sewing for the first time yesterday.”
For those wondering, Eugene Taylor Brand and Og. Brand will continue to operate separately, with ETB releasing a new collection this month, followed by a capsule collection from Og. Brand later this summer. You can catch Work With Friends at the Virgin Hotels this Saturday for Aux Cord DJs, and stay up to date with all of their upcoming releases and events on workwithyourfriends.com.