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The Instagram chronicling the struggles of art directors worldwide

@dazedfashion’s Instagram of the week @dankartdirectormemes makes light of ‘professional frustrations’

We’ve all been there, desperate to hit send on an email moaning about a client/colleague/workplace situation that will more than likely come back to bite us in the arse. Or perhaps your frustration is too niche, one that only someone who has been in your shoes would understand?

Cue: @dazedfashion’s Instagram of the week, @dankartdirectormemes. Set up by, surprise, surprise, an art director based in London, who can “make memes slightly better than I art direct”. The creator describes the account as, “group therapy, but the therapist is live-streaming the whole thing…”.

Relatable for art directors worldwide – or generally anyone working in the fashion industry – @dankartdirectormemes was looking for a healthy and relatable way to vent “professional frustrations”. The formula for a post is simple: a creative insight, an image (from Rihanna and Theresa May to the iconic Gail Platt of Coronation Street) and a witty caption that highlights the struggle at hand, each created on an iPhone on the daily commute.

Those in question range from memes poking fun at inter-office politics, juggling client expectations and penny-pinching locations, to shot count disagreements, unrealistic/non-existent/slashed budgets, and mis-credited ideas. We can’t endorse some of the shade that’s thrown, but the meme about how dark and windowless the old Dazed office was is definitely the kind of content we can get behind. When the tough gets going, look to @dankartdirectormemes.

What made you start @dankartdirectormemes?

@dankartdirectormemes: I started making these memes last summer as an in-joke email to my assistant and some work friends; this was a little before there were any of the current fashion meme accounts so I felt a bit like nobody would get it, our job is pretty niche. I decided to make a secret second Instagram profile where I could vent my professional frustrations in a healthy, low-key (yet utterly public) way and they could just live there for whoever found them. For ages it was a quiet and slow-growing crowd, a few other niche meme accounts were blowing up and after a little while the very decent @photocopier_ decided to direct some of his disciples my way, and here we are!

What's your main mission?

@dankartdirectormemes: Spreading the disdain, far and wide until it’s just laughable that any of this is our lives, and to be thankful for it all! That and freebies, we never get free shit, only the models do and they’re usually paid the most anyway!

What’s the criteria for a @dankartdirectormemes meme?

@dankartdirectormemes: As long as it’s relatable, not too nasty and makes me laugh, it’s generally good to go. I don’t like to overthink it, memes shouldn’t be contrived! 

Where do you source them?

@dankartdirectormemes: Each meme is lovingly handmade on my iPhone, on the commute to the office. I find pictures using recent news pics, film and TV show screenshots and some classic meme formats that I’ll just reappropriate. 

“As long as it’s relatable, not too nasty and makes me laugh, it’s generally good to go. I don’t like to overthink it, memes shouldn’t be contrived!” – @dankartdirectormemes

Do you have any particular favourites you’ve posted? 

@dankartdirectormemes: No specifics but a few I really liked... this, this and this

What do your memes reveal about you?

@dankartdirectormemes: Probably that I have too much time on my hands! But hopefully that I don’t take everything seriously, we’re not saving lives in our line of work, but the job can be pretty stressful and has long hours and it can get to people – so I like to be the one that keeps a positive spin on it all. What we do is mostly fun, it’s good to remember that.

Who are your favourite art directors?

@dankartdirectormemes: There’s the ‘old’ masters like M/M Paris, Marc Ascoli, Phil Bicker, all very decent back in the 90s-00s, and then nowadays people like Simmonds Ltd, Veronica Ditting, Shaz Madani, Florence Tetier and JB Talbourdet.

If you had to soundtrack your account, which artists/songs would you choose?

@dankartdirectormemes: Self Defense Family – “I’m Going Through Some Shit”

Avril Lavigne – “Complicated”

Bad Religion – “No Direction”

Manic Street Preachers – “A Design For Life”

Morrissey – “Dial a Cliché”

Hatebreed – “Driven By Suffering”

What might people not realise about the pictures you post?

@dankartdirectormemes: I don’t think the whole crowd will often get the reference image. Like when I posted the ‘J’suis Gail’ meme, I’m almost certain 80 per cent of the crowd have never watched Corrie before...!

Has anything unexpected come from your account?

@dankartdirectormemes: To be honest, just the sheer number of followers I’ve gained and who they all are, it’s like a ‘who are you?’ to a ‘whoa, it’s you!’ There’s a nice mix of new photographers through to well known creative directors and some fashion designers. I see @virgilabloh is following, but he's yet to come through with a like. That and a job offer or two doesn’t hurt, I do have bills to pay…

Who do you love to follow on Instagram? 

@dankartdirectormemes: @photocopier_, @stressedstylist, @condenastycatering, @screensaviours, @mushpit, @rodland.jpg and @spencerpratt – exclusively for his hummingbird posts.