Have you ever wondered how is it possible that in today’s fast-paced multi-gazillion fashion industry some designers are shooting their own campaigns? On a conceptual level, it makes perfect sense to translate the vision of your collection into the visuals that will help reach your audience and ultimately sell your creations. However when you think of the massive work that goes into each and every collection, which can sometimes amount to 10 per year – think 2 Ready To Wear, 2 Couture, 2 Menswear, Pre-Fall and Resort – this is actually huge. That’s fashion weeks almost all year round!

This is why our today’s post focuses on some of these fashion designers, or better yet creative forces, whose work that we greatly admire has extended beyond the catwalk and behind the camera.

Karl Lagerfeld, the man who once said ‘I would like to be a one-man multinational fashion phenomenon’, is the Creative Director of Chanel, as well as the Italian house Fendi and his own label. On top of that, he is also in charge with shooting his own campaigns. As he explains: ‘One season at Chanel, in 1987, they did three tests, and they were all awful. I said to the director of fashion imagery, ‘I’m very sorry, but that doesn’t work.’ And he said to me, ‘If you’re going to be like that, do it yourself.’ ’ ‘Taking pictures opens up your vision,” he says. “It’s good to work with other people. If not, you’re isolated in an ivory tower, and that is very unhealthy.”

I believe it’s no secret that Tom Ford is what I’d call a serial multi-tasker. According to Vogue, ‘by the end of his tenure at Gucci in 2004 Ford was “designing fifteen men’s and women’s Gucci and YSL collections a year” as well as overseeing their advertising campaigns and filling the role of “corporate titan” who had masterminded the purchases of YSL, Balenciaga, and Bottega Veneta, and forged partnerships with Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.’ And after turning his own label into a highly acclaimed one, Ford somehow finds time to direct movies, get behind the camera and shower in between 3 to 5 times a day.

Everybody’s heard about Hedi Slimane‘s love for photography, especially after the rock star of the fashion scene decided to leave Dior Homme as Creative Director and concentrate on shooting images. We especially love his series of intimate portraits of some of ‘the most famous faces in contemporary culture: Amy Winehouse, Frances Bean cobain, Brian Wilson, Gisele Bundchen, Robert De Niro and Kate Moss’ (nytimes). Besides being the driving factor in Karl Lagerfeld’s weight loss (‘I lost 200lb to wear suits by Hedi Slimane’), he is now the creative director for Saint Laurent. The designer-turned-photographer-turned-designer-again continues his photographic work, as you can notice from his regularly updated website.

Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce, who have just delivered one of the most beautiful Dolce & Gabbana collections during Milan Fashion Week, are some of those designers who also like to experiment with photography, from time to time however. ‘It was Stefano who convinced me I had to shoot the campaign,’ says Dolce, who made his debut as a photographer in June 2012 with Campioni, a book of portraits of Italian soccer stars. ‘I felt a bit hesitant at first, but it allowed us to follow the collection through as much as possible.’

Another designer who excels at photography is Johan Lindeberg, former Creative Director at Diesel and J.Lindeberg, he is know the main creative force behind the one of the coolest denim labels our there, BLK DNM. If you are a follower of their Instagram account and Close Up, the website where Lindeberg documents the story behind the brand, you’re already familiar with the mesmerising portrait true to BLK DNM’s aesthetics, which features subjects like Arizona Muse, Christian Brylle, Noomi Rapace, Lindsey Wixon or Caroline de Maigret. ‘The line emphasizes basics for the behind-the-scenes minimalist. Hardly anything here calls attention to itself, which is ideal when it’s your job to make other people look great with no damage done to your own ego.’

And now for the photographs! Here’s a selection of some of our favourites:

Lindsey Wixson in BLK DNM's portrait series shot by Johan Lindeberg.
Mirte Maas and Mathias Bergh: Tom Ford Spring/Summer 2012 Campaign shot by Tom Ford
Noomi Rapace in BLK DNM's portrait series shot by Johan Lindeberg.
Dolce&Gabbana Spring Summer 2014 Campaign photographed by Domenico Dolce
Freja Beha Erichsen Stars in Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2013 Campaign by Hedi Slimane
Karl Lagerfeld shoots Scarlett Johansson for Harper's Bazaar US September Issue
Esther Heesch in Tom Ford Spring/Summer 2014 Campaign shot by Tom Ford
Noomi Rapace in BLK DNM's portrait series shot by Johan Lindeberg.
Freja Beha Erichsen Stars in Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2013 Campaign by Hedi Slimane
Dolce&Gabbana Spring Summer 2014 Campaign photographed by Domenico Dolce
Freja Beha Erichsen Stars in Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2013 Campaign by Hedi Slimane
Esther Heesch in Tom Ford Spring/Summer 2014 Campaign shot by Tom Ford
Dolce&Gabbana Spring Summer 2014 Campaign photographed by Domenico Dolce
Karl Lagerfeld Shoots Marte Mei Van Haaster in Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2013
Cara Delevingne for Saint Laurent's Fall 2013 Campaign by Hedi Slimane
Tilda Swinton Embraces Scottish Heritage for Chanel Paris-Edimbourg Campaign by Karl Lagerfeld

Sources: wmagazine, nytimes, fashiongonerogue, fashionising, swide.com