When did you start making hats?
I was making hats as accessories in my collections already in 2015. It was back then, during Mercedes-Benz Warsaw Fashion Weekend runway, that I presented wide rims without tops. They were made of fabrics with prints designed together with artist Bogna Morawska. The hats were decorated with intriguing illustrations with psychedelic vintage washbasins and galloping horses with jockeys. I still wear them! Then there was the Palha Collection where the hats are made of straw dried in the Portuguese sun and plaited according to my design by the women from the local community who make their living from straw plaiting.
What does the process of hatmaking look like for you?
Living between two countries gives you an interesting perspective. The greatest inspiration and the start of my adventure with hatmaking was the time when I discovered the work of Lisbon’s ancient workshops. One of them has been producing candles since 1797, another has been making hand-made leather gloves since 1925. I got back to Torun and I knew that I needed to convince the local milliners from the last of 13 millinery workshops to teach me how to make hats. This is how the first collection titled HANDMADE HATS 13.1. was born. I took it to Lisbon, where currently I am the only one designer who makes hand-made hats. The last millinery atelier in Lisbon, although located on the “historical workshops road”, was transformed into a shop selling Italian hats.
Why did you decide to limit your interest in fashion design to designing hats?
After defending my diploma, my collection was received with great enthusiasm from the critics, media, bloggers, celebrities (I even got an e-mail from Lady Gaga stylist) and customers. An investor also contacted me. I took to a spreadsheet and started working on the budget, pricing, forecasting. I realised that before seriously getting into it, I need to know if I want to do it 24/7. It turned out that most of the time I would spend with the spreadsheets. I also quickly became aware that it is extremely hard to control the provenance of the fabrics in the process of clothes making. Even when you know the factory, the production, the working conditions, you still have no idea about the process of the fibre making, not to mention sourcing the raw material. It was then that I decided that if I am to release new products to the world, I have to be 100% sure what conditions they were made in and be proud of this process. It is very important for me, from both quality and ethic perspective, not to give people rubbish clothes. In fashion, I didn’t like the senseless consumerism and the idea, that each season you need to flood people with tons of clothes. Nobody needs that. I decided that I could dedicate my creativity to something that will be pretty, but will also have a mission. In hats, I have found it all – beauty, passion and mission.
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