Friendship through filters

Octavia Akoulitchev 8 March 2017

Friendship initially seems a strange theme to explore in a seemingly 'five seconds of fame' industry, notorious for its ruthless two-faced personalities and superficial friendships. Yet our personal experience has given us a totally different outlook on the matter. In fact, we would say being in an industry like fashion is an opportunity to really be a friend. Because of its competitive nature, and the need to rely on people's skills or ideas, building genuine friendships with those you work with really is what gets people through, and inspires them!

In a way, our experience with fashion and styling has always had friendship at its centre. Years ago when we first started "blogging", it was with a wider group of friends on Tumblr: our friendship influenced one another's style and clothing choices. We all had quite different looks but would pick and choose from each other's wardrobes. We both ended up having this eclectic style, somewhat similar to one another but distinct from everybody else, and people always pointed it out.

Cut to the present day and we've had our fashion and styling focused website “culpavinum" for almost a year now – our friendship was both what inspired it and what keeps it going. It's funny, because of the fake relationships, friendships, or the “friendship” angle used in campaigns with people who barely know each other, sometimes we get asked if someone put us together and if we really are friends.

My most recent experience of this was an encounter with a girl who couldn't quite understand how our "vibe" was so authentically similar.

"so you weren't put together like a girl band or something?"

(We get asked if we're a girl band a lot too)

But no, we definitely weren't put together, and after living with someone for over ten years your vibe is bound to overlap. We still think we dress quite differently from one another – off photoshoot setting.

But we find it absolutely hilarious, seeing as we've known each other since we were eleven and still picture one another in the ill-fitting ankle length uniform we had to wear in school.

That being said, statements like that aren't completely unfounded! Social media has become a medium for people to connect with one another, often on the basis of an "aesthetic" that they appreciate in another person's feed. We have actually made some really great friends through our collaborations. We may never have met them before, but after they contact us (or vice versa) we often end up genuinely getting along and later on helping one another out with a shoot, or location advice. The more cynical may say this is strategic but we genuinely have friends we can just hang out with, no strings attached. That isn't to say we have never come across people who believe – solely based on the fact that we own certain items of clothing – that we will be the kind of people they can hang out with. It's absurd but we've honestly both had people comment on what we're wearing and then declare that we “must hang out”. Yes, sadly those judgemental people do exist who will dismiss you if you don't comply with certain style standards, but welcome you with open arms if you do.

On a personal note, exploring our styles and so much more with our website together has made our friendship something really special. Having a website with your best friend does have its challenges, whether it’s within the fashion realm or not. Not to mention we also live together, so we spend 70% of our time together, and if you don't already have a solid friendship that's enough to make anyone crazy. It's taught us to push each other without being pushy, rely on one another, be straightforward when one of us doesn't agree (because tip toeing around feelings or passive aggression never helps anyone). And on the fashion side, we definitely push each other to take risks with what we wear. But most of all – it's a lot of fun.