4 design duo’s on friendship, success and why business is better together

This International Friendship Day, we sat down with fashion’s finest pairings to reflect on the support systems that keep them going.

Mary Lou Ryan, Bassike Co-founder and Director of Supply Chain and Sustainability, and Deborah Sams, Bassike Co-founder and Creative Director

Deborah Sams and Mary Lou Ryan of Bassike

What came first, work or friendship?

Friendship came first. Lou and I met when we were both newbies starting at a new company – Lou had just recently moved to Sydney from Melbourne. We became friends, followed by flatmates and then continued to work at a few different companies together before we decided to partner and create Bassike. – Deborah

What connects you as friends?

Our friendship runs very deep, it almost feels like a marriage! We are very connected through the business day-to-day and also have similar interests outside of this. We are both working towards a common goal – there is real trust and commitment. – Deborah

Bassike trench

Bassike knit

What do you love about working together?

After such a long-time as friends, there is a mutual sense of respect, acceptance and loyalty – we truly understand each other. We both bring different skills and knowledge to the business on a daily basis, so there is a real harmony working together. – Mary Lou

How do you bring the best out of one another at work?

We bring out the best by wholeheartedly supporting each other’s vision. We are careful to balance collaboration and autonomy and space when required, and this enables us to successfully play to our strengths. – Mary Lou

Shop Wardrobe Must-Haves by Bassike

BASSIKE

Wool Linen Relaxed Trench

Shop Now

BASSIKE

Melange Chunky Turtleneck Knit

Shop Now

BASSIKE

Wide Cross Over Slide

Shop Now

BASSIKE

Stretch Twill Spilt Hem Tights

Shop Now

Sarah Munro, Co-founder and Creative Director, and Robert Sebastian Grynkofki, Co-founder and Managing Director of Sarah & Sebastian

Sarah Munro and Robert Sebastian Grynkofki of Sarah & Sebastian

What came first, work or friendship?

Our friendship came first, we met whilst studying jewellery design abroad in Canada and just clicked. Robert ended up moving to Sydney to pursue an industrial design career but found himself preoccupied with our shared project of making jewellery in his spare time. Friends and family responded well to what we were creating, and as our business began to grow, so did our working relationship as we navigated a world of unknowns together. – Sarah

What connects you as friends?

SARAH & SEBASTIAN turns ten next year, so we’ve spent a decade pursuing our passion, creating a brand we’re both immensely proud of. Over the years, we have learned what makes each other tick, have the deepest respect for one another and find ourselves aligned on many decisions, excited by similar ideas. We are continuously envisioning and planning for what could come next. We’ve been through so many ups and downs which ultimately have served to strengthen our trust in each other as business partners and friends.
– Robert

Sarah & Sebastian ring
Sarah & Sebastian earring

What do you love about working together?

We have a lot of fun at work and genuinely enjoy each other’s company, we even still share an office! As the brand has grown, I think we’ve both realised how lucky we are to be in it together. We can pretty much read each other’s minds. We have highly compatible skill sets and always each other’s best interests at heart. I wouldn’t want to miss this wealth of strength and support. I dare say that our friendship is a key component to our success. – Robert

How do you bring the best out of one another at work?

As co-founders, we’ve always approached the business from different perspectives; I’m very intuitive and explorative whilst Robert is measured and considered. Over time, we’ve both learnt from each other’s way of working and as a result, have a greater appreciation for one another, leading us to make decisions we can both get behind and find opportunities we can really strive for. – Sarah

Shop Staples by Sarah & Sebastian

SARAH & SEBASTIAN

Form Double Hoops

Shop Now

SARAH & SEBASTIAN

Form Necklace

Shop Now

SARAH & SEBASTIAN

Fine Form Ring

Shop Now

SARAH & SEBASTIAN

Winedark Form Ring

Shop Now

Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimarsdottir, Creative Directors, ROTATE

Jeanette Madsen and Thora Valdimarsdottir of ROTATE

What came first, work or friendship?

We were co-workers first, but we became friends instantly. We started working together as fashion editors at the same magazine and instantly clicked and connected. We think just travelling together to international fashion weeks and being around each other a lot helped us develop this beautiful friendship.

What connects you as friends?

We think it’s that we are so alike in so many ways and yet very different. We feed off each other’s energy and connect on all the things we have in common while also challenging each other and expanding one another’s horizons.

Rotate dress

Rotate dress

What do you love about working together?

The fun we’re having while we do it!

How do you bring the best out of one another at work?

We’re good at balancing out each other’s energies, if one of us is having an off day, the other one can balance that out and help lift the mood. That also helps creatively that we can feed off each other’s creative energies to stay inspired.

Shop Style Signatures by ROTATE

ROTATE

Aster Black Rotate Logo T-shirt

Shop Now

ROTATE

Dawn Bright White Short Sleeve Dress

Shop Now

ROTATE

Rotie Black Straight Lew Pants

Shop Now

ROTATE

Miki Cabaret Print Long Sleeve Mini Dress

Shop Now

Clare Tregoning and Pip Edwards, founders of P.E. Nation

Pip Edwards and Claire Tregoning, founders of P.E. Nation

What came first, work or friendship?

Work came first as we met at Sass & Bide and began our working relationship in a very similar manner as a senior creative and senior designer. After years of sitting next to each other and working so closely, we became super tight. It’s this relationship and respect for what we each bring to the table that has created a very balanced and strong partnership. We absolutely see eye to eye and can 100% speak for the other on every and any occasion.

What connects you as friends?

Like-minded energy and vibe, similar interests and passions, and long-standing loyalty and respect. We are effectively in a working marriage!

P.E.Nation jacket
P.E. Nation sweater and legging

What do you love about working together?

That we come from different angles and always meet each other in the middle. Sometimes we balance each other out, and sometimes we push each other to experiment. Whatever it is, it’s for our greater good and a greater result.

How do you bring the best out of one another at work?

Listen, know how to handle and guide conversations, we never have arguments or even disagreements, we generally know how to communicate to each other in our own unique style, that it allows for always an open and honest discussion. And because we are 50/50, we are effectively doing it for each other to be better!

Shop Coveted Athleisure by P.E. Nation

P.E. NATION

Courtside Chilli Pepper Red Sweater

Shop Now

P.E. NATION

Courtside Black High Rise Recycled Nylon Legging

Shop Now

P.E. NATION

Courtside Black Spray Jacket

Shop Now

P.E. NATION

Inning Black Sports Bra

Shop Now