“My focus as a designer has always been to really design from an emotional standpoint,” says Fairhope, Alabama–based fashion creator Destani Hoffman. “When conceptualizing, I think about an experience, both emotionally and visually, before I ever design anything. I ask myself, ‘What do I want people to feel, see, and be immersed in when the collection is presented?’”
This is the “superpower” of so many creatives around the globe, whether they are painters, fashion designers, poets, photographers, musicians, or any number of other labels—they are artists. They break molds by embracing the creation process and bringing others into it through their work. In troubled times, people turn to the creatives to bring not only joy and entertainment but also deep thought, meaning, and empathy.
Art is also a poignant reminder of how amazing people can be when they work together, as some of the absolute best creations are team efforts.
“I always say that I cannot do my best work without a talented team of people and that was very true for this shoot,” says photographer Lauren Athalia. The moody yet elegant fashion shoot you see here was a collaborative effort between five female creatives: Athalia and Hoffman, stylist Sarah Levey, hair and makeup artist Stacy Alderson, and model Delaney Tyndall. “Each one of these women has an amazing set of skills, and it is my joy and my job to capture that.”
"Part of what I love about being an artist is that it’s always a learning experience, and I wanted to really challenge myself to let go and see what Lauren and Sarah would do with my pieces.”
The pristine coastal landscape of Saint Andrews State Park played backdrop to the beach shots, giving them an interesting juxtaposition of nature and couture. “One of my favorite things about this beach is that Hurricane Michael’s winds uncovered a World War II gun turret on the beach, and I think this was a cool consequence of a terrible natural disaster. It exposed some Florida history and made the beach a little more unique.”
In general, Hoffman says her DH Designs brand is geared toward an edgy, grungy, nonchalant vibe. “I generally style things with a hard and soft balance and an unkempt, little-bit-punk look, so when we decided to collaborate on this shoot, I really just wanted to let my brand vision take a backseat. Part of what I love about being an artist is that it’s always a learning experience, and I wanted to really challenge myself to let go and see what Lauren and Sarah would do with my pieces.”
Athalia agrees that she is always learning too—especially on the job. “I generally plan to do six to eight outfits for a fashion editorial, in a variety of scenes. Among those combinations, I try to edit in the moment and not overshoot one look. Some things work in my mind that don’t in real life, and the opposite is true too. Sometimes I find unexpected moments that are just begging to be photographed. It’s a balance of having a plan but not being so controlling that you can’t capture the happy accidents.”
The ethereal nature of this photo shoot just goes to show that embracing the creation of art and the creation of earth, and being willing to follow their lead, can lead you to beautiful things.
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Hair and Makeup by Stacy Alderson – @stacyalderson