Double the ingredients for best results: Not just a case of buy one get one free as twins prove to be the perfectly proportioned recipe for success…
Two heads are better than one. You only have to look at the big names in fashion to see that this old saying runs true: Dolce and Gabbana, Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, Victor and Rolf and Sass and Bide– to name a few. But it is not just fashion where partnerships prevail- Gilbert and George have become something of an
institution in the art world, whilst Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber collaborations still rule the stage. Judging by these successes, pairing up certainly appears to pay off. So imagine the superhuman force when twins are thrown into the mix.
One in ninety births are twins. There are 125 million living multiples worldwide, with figures showing that the numbers of twins in the UK are increasing with almost 13,000 twins born in 2010- a 56% increase from 1995. Twins are taking over, and it seems that the multiples are firmly focused on the creative industries, with many pairs opting to tread similarly artistic paths.
Twins are on the brink of total domination, as their double dose of talent combined with their twin identities has secured major interest. A certain mystique has always surrounded twins. They have been condemned and revered alike throughout history as people with special powers. Having been the focus of many scientific studies and believed to possess an unspoken psychic bond, the fascination with twins continues; and rightly so as it seems that their list of special powers now includes the arts. With more and more twins tackling the world of desgn, music and craft.
Meet the double acts who are proving that today the ‘twin-factor’ is an essential component for success: Miles and Marcus Haughton, fraternal twins and band members of new Indie sensation ‘Theme Park’, identical twins and Olsen lookalikes Anna and Mary Stephenson– fashion designer and artist who have been hotly tipped by the guardian. Tida and Lisa Finch, monozygotic twins and jewellery designers who count Jessie J and Ashanti as clients, and Amrit and Rabindra Singh, identical twins who were recently awarded an MBE for their joint art career.
– Miles and Marcus Haughton number 1 single ‘Milk’ with ‘Theme Park’-
As a non-multiple we find ourselves desperate to stand out and be seen as individuals, making it hard to fathom those twins which appear inseparable. Yet for many pairs, the progression to establish joint careers has been a natural step; as if they have been pre-programmed to do so- with their shared upbringings fueling a desire to work together in perfect pairs. Simply: Twins have never known anything else. Psychologists and behavioral geneticist, Dr Nancy Segal, (a twin herself) asserts that: “Identical twins generally work well together and more cooperatively than others, with many identical twins ending up in similar industries because they have the same interests and talents, which is genetically influenced.” Dr Segal explains that the bond between twins can sometimes be so strong that other companions can seem unnecessary- perhaps this is why we are seeing a rise in the ‘twin-thing’- as more twins enter the creative industry equipped solely to work together.
Many up and coming creatives seem to prove so, convinced that their pairing is the perfect fit. Musical duo Miles and Marcus Haughton confess that their collaboration “just sort of happened, there wasn’t a definite plan.” With Marcus adding “music is fun because I do it with my brother, I might get lonely on my own!” The Finch girls always had it in mind to work together and reasoned that “it would benefit our collaborations if we did different degrees.” Another double or quits pairing can be seen with Amrit and Rabindra Singh: “We can’t see ourselves doing solo projects. It was never a conscious decision to work together. We just automatically followed the same path as a natural consequence of our identical upbringing and our shared abilities.” The Singh Twins have hit back at non-multiple skeptics and “against the whole cult of individualism that so strongly exists.” They are utterly devoted to one another, dressing identically and sharing every detail of their painting process. The ladies have built a career on their refusal to be viewed as separate artists. “We are one artist- with a common identity and goal- rather than two artist working in collaboration”. Even coining the term ‘twindividuals’ to describe themselves.-The ‘Twindivuals’- The twins, sign off all correspondence ‘The Singh Twins’ preferring to be seen as one-
In the words of Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston ‘It Takes Two’– a philosophy followed by many talented twins who believe (with the results to prove it) that by joining together they create an unbeatable powerhouse. This is no supermarket ‘buy one get one free’ offer which twins are cashing in on, but the real deal, strength in numbers. In a world consumed by wannabes a certain kind of bravado and fight is needed to edge your way in, and it’s twins that have this in spades.
Take Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. They began working at just 9 months old and have since built a multi million dollar empire, which includes a back catalogue of films and TV shows. They most recently ventured into high-end fashion design with their label ‘The Row’. Mary-Kate reveals to Elle UK that they “balance each other out. Nothing would ever split us up creatively,” suggesting that the girls fully believe that their strength and success as designers stems from being together. And they’re not the only ones. Identical twin girls Daniela and Annette Felder founded fashion label Felder Felder in 2006 and have since won the New Gen prize for 3 consecutive seasons and have gained huge acclaim as a design duo. Their collections often play on opposites and high contrast aiming to strike a balance in each design,which inevitably relates to their experience as twins. Explaining to Vogue that “being a duo we often have contrasting ideas but we compensate each other. People can be scared of us because we are a powerful double force.” Jewellery designers and monozygotic twins, Tida and Lisa Finch, who refer to one another as “their partner in crime”, believe that they “work best together, we can completely bounce off each other. We really compliment each other’s strengths.” Both girls are desperate to give Finchttida Finch their all, warning that they “have so much creativity yet to unleash!.” With their star clientele stacking up already- Lianne La Havas has worn the girls designs, Irina Lanzareanu is a fan, whilst Ashanti’s musical comeback features earrings and necklace by the girls- Non-multiples beware. This really will be a force to be reckoned with.-Tida and Lisa finch believe they are mirror twins: “We always have mirrored ailments, and Tida is left handed and Lisa right!”-
If the ‘written in the stars’ partnerships that twins are handed isn’t enough; the lucky multiples also have a bank of inspiration to delve into- being a twin itself. Many twins rely on their dual existence to influence their work. Anna Stephenson, 23 year old identical twin and fashion designer admits to being utterly inspired by her life as a twin. Her work often relates to “weight and balance and how we (me and sister Mary) co-depend on each other”. She is fascinated by the power of two, always looking at the double and working with symmetry, adding that “there is always a Mary influence to my work somewhere”. And she is not alone; Elvis had a twin brother- Jessie Garon Presley who died at birth but who he insists remained a constant influence on his music. The Finch girls signature designs feature laser-cut, mirrored accessories with symmetrical intricate patterns taken from their Lao heritage. The choice of mirrored acetate refers to their joint upbringing and the belief that the girls are ‘mirror twins’.– Anna Stephenson, fashion designer graduate collection.-
There is no denying that the public is captivated by twins. The annual Twin Festival that takes place in Twinsburg, Ohio, must rank as one of the strangest gatherings in the world, but still people flock. So why shouldn’t creative twins use this fascination to their advantage? Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t totally milk it? Identical twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten of fashion label DSquared2 believe that their designs “are so much more effective when we focus on the power of two,” believing that other design duos are “trying to infringe on our act.” ‘Act’ is certainly an apt choice of words for the brothers who have embraced their twin identities as a marketing ploy. Dressing in matching outfits secure in the knowledge that twin fascination sells. Telling The National: “We know it’s interesting to see two identical things, because it’s king of rare, two identical specimens, looking identical, and it’s cool. So we kind of play on it once in a while.” The Finch twins agree, with Lisa confessing that “people are always fascinated by twins, so imagine a creative pair of twins is bound to generate interest, but you have to have talent.”
Is it just me or have twins lucked out? Admittedly it is a little unnerving and totally pleasantville to see twins gush about their unmatchable bond? But many were quite frankly appalled that I dare question their ‘special relationship’ and that resentment would never cross their minds. Perhaps a tad jealous as a lone single entity that I will never truly understand the ‘twin thing’; but whatever it is, doubling up seems to amount to success. That settles it, lead me to the clone machine- I’m in need of a doppelganger.