Meet Pat Guzik, the Kraków-based fashion designer who’s the last word in sustainable fashion. Having graduated in 2010 with a second degree in fashion (her first was in Philosophy and Sociology Studies), Guzik has earned her name in the fashion scene with a slew of awards, including winner of the Eco Chic 2015 award.
We caught up with Guzik after her month-long trip around Asia to see what she’s working on this year.
Can you tell us what you’re up to at the moment ?
I have just returned after a one-month trip around Asia so right now my focus is on getting back to work and to reality. Right now I’m in Kraków and it’s almost midnight and I’m preparing for a photo shoot. In Poland I work as both stylist and designer, and we are starting a big project in few days so there is a lot to do.
I’m also starting to design the second part of my Heaven is a Place on Earth collection as I am working towards a photoshoot and video shooting in April. I’m also already working on my third prize, which is to design an outfit for Hong Kong supermodel, Janet Ma, which I am excited about.
I have just a few months in Kraków before I will be on my way back to Hong Kong to work with Shanghai Tang on my sustainable capsule collection, which will be a big step in my fashion career. Keep your fingers crossed – if everything goes well my collection will be in stores next year so this is my big goal for 2016!
What was the inspiration behind your collection?
My interpretation of the phrase ‘Heaven is a place on Earth’ was the starting point for the The EcoChic Design Award. This corresponds to the everlasting pursuit of perfection in life, and is a condition when the feeling of emptiness and stagnation is able to be balanced, allowing us to be in harmony – to find your own place on earth. I aimed to make my clothes a shelter; a dreamy, heaven-like space that one could just settle into.
Texture, color and shape are the main codes of the collection and the forms are enhanced by the prints. My jumpers are knitted with rug-making techniques using secondhand wool. Heaven Is a Place was also the inspiration for the color theme with tints of black, white, blue, violet and cobalt dominating the collection.
I collaborated with polish illustrator, Mateusz Kolek, who designed the print based on my inspiration pack and colour palette. This print developed from lots of discussions about the theme and is a labyrinth of symbols which take you through my story. This re-printing technique has also enabled me to bring new life to discarded textiles.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during this competition?
The biggest challenge would be standing in front of the jury to tell about story about collection, show them my inspiration pack and communicate the sustainable elements in just three minutes!
How do you describe your personal style?
I’m quite minimal in my personal style – I’m obsessed with black and white clothes. I like oversized clothes, tomboy styles. I tend to wear colour when I am feeling blue.
What do you think people could do to support sustainable fashion?
Fashion has become so fast now and we need to change our thinking around clothes. My advice would be:
- Support designers. We need to start thinking about our clothes and to have respect to people’s workmanship and all that goes into making them.
- Buy secondhand. Check the secondhand and vintage shops in your area as you can find something really beautiful and unique.
- Keep your clothes for longer. Try D.I.Y and reworking your clothes by making skirts from old blouses or step out of your comfort zone to mix up your outfits to avoid getting bored with them. Repair first and not put clothes to trash and if you really want to pass then pass to someone else or make a swap.
What pushed you towards a fashion career after studying philosophy and sociology?
I always dreamed about studying sculpture so after Philosophy and Sociology, I went on to do a second degree in sculpture, but (perhaps because I have always been crazy about textiles too). Something inside me told me to make change choice of studies to fashion design. My work is still 3D so I think the choice was a good way to continue both my dreams!
Philosophy has really been important in the development of my fashion work. I love approaching fashion in an exploratory way, I always ask the questions first and my work develops out of finding the answers. One of my favourite learnings from philosophy and sociology study was from artist Louise Bourgeois who said “the act of sewing is a process of emotional repair.”
And finally, your favourite stores and brands to shop?