Františka Blažková

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London-based fashion designer Tanya Liu's intricate creations could be simply pigeonholed as ultimate mermaidcore – but they spring from much deeper sources. The pearlescent gradients and gently billowing silhouettes are rooted in the relationship between natural biology and post-human science, and mechanisms of endless life cycles of certain species. In the interview, we talk the bell of the immortal jellyfish, pivotal influences, and the scent of lavender.
Don't let the cheery colours fool you, the whimsical world of Latvian illustrator and object maker Inga Ziemele is chock-full of adorable danger and seedy characters. In the interview, Inga talks using art to work through the themes of self-acceptance and anxiety, bringing joy into people's lives, and professes her love for deceitfully cute bunnies.
Chelsea Theilmann's vibrant tufted floral creations came about as a pandemic lockdown project and soon turned into a hallmark of her artistic practice, desired by many. Her joyful creations are intended to brighten up spaces and moods either as rugs or wall decor and some can be even worn as handbags. More in the interview below.
“In video games, nothing interested me more than character creation.” Since Polish fashion designer Maja Bączyńska founded her eponymous label, she's been gracing the world with her sometimes sleek, most of the time maximal and opulent silhouettes. In the interview, Bączyńska sheds light on her playful pieces featuring frilly and sculptural textures, unexpected twists and reference layers, and clever and uncompromising tailoring.
We've emerged from the thawed soil and we crave quick energy. Sweetness so frustrating you'll want to spit it out. By launching our first theme for the 2024 season, SUGAR RUSH, we wish to replenish your tired brains with fast carbs and worry about balanced diets later. The theme's cover was crafted by the talented Czech illustrator and graphic designer Danchez.
“In general, people stay much longer at raves than in a gallery.” The Slovak creative duo behind AUSGANG Studio, Alex Zelina and Radovan Dranga, craft menacing and sometimes unsettling sculptures and mobile installations from materials typically considered waste with an occasional AI crossover. You can run into these in a gallery or, unexpectedly, at a dim dancefloor.
“The feeling of having enough time, the luxury of boredom, is very important to me when making art,” quips Bronislava Orlická, the idiosyncratic Czech painter and tattoo artist, whose iconic gradient “flames” adorn countless limbs and torsos across the world. The scope of her artistic practice is broad: from the aforementioned tattoos to large-scale paintings to machine knitting. Get to know her below.
Beca Alcorta is a Berlin-based self-taught sculptural artist with a MA in Psychology, infusing her pearlescent, corals-like creations with what she knows about the human psyche and gothic aesthetic influences. In the exclusive interview, we delve into joy of working with randomness, adaptive and maladaptive illusions, never-before-felt hopelessness, and more.
“I believe that I can open the closed doors of your soul.” Polina Revunenko, Ukrainian metalsmith and designer, unveiled a sliver of her magical inner realm for us in an interview. In her jewellery collections, she uses a special casting technique, which makes the resulting jewellery appear molten and crudely wrought, reminiscent of some sort of mediaeval or druidic cult insignia.
“Complexity isn’t always necessary for impactful design.” Being a Swiss citizen of Vietnamese descent, Duc Siegenthaler has been navigating the ebb and flow of blending in and standing out since childhood. SWARM Mag interviewed the founder and Creative Director of the Siegenthaler label about avoiding reducing modularity to “a gimmick”, constant self-discovery, indulging in play, and more.
Mossy, mouldy, earthy – all these adjectives give you a very rough outline of the garments the Copenhagen-based Solitude Studios craft and sometimes even grow and ferment. Their A/W23 collection, Wood Wide Web, hints at the recently popularised notion of “mycorrhizal internet”, the sprawling matrix of mycelium that connects fungi and various members of the plant kingdom, ferrying nutrients and other kinds of “information”.
The goal of “bringing visions to life”, so essential and ubiquitous in the art world, is often hindered and challenged by compromises, most often on the technological and material side of things. But putting Susanna Pugliese's fantastical fashion sketches next to the near-identical final garments is a testament to her commitment to fulfil this goal no matter its labouriousness. Read on for the interview with the Italian-born fashion designer in possession of a wide range of artisanal skills.
Czech filmmaker and audiovisual artist Eliška Lubojatzká introduces two video poems: Dryaarisi and Zagovory. One after another, they lure us to into a semi-tangible, semi-transient landscapes that are explored and experienced by a dryad, and into a spell-casting phenomenon laden with Slavic folklore and verbal folk magic.
Olga Wieszczyk's intensely corporeal, borderline body-horror, and uncomfortably seductive illustrations feel like your eyes have been spellbound not to look away… or blink. In the interview, Olga shared with us her childhood fascination with the occult, dark Catholic themes, sombre Slavic folk tales and myths – and, clearly, manga.
“My practice is a lot like my compost bin.“ Welcome to the ever-germinating and sprouting world of Beth Williams, a disabled designer and multi-disciplinary artist who specialises in knitwear, living textiles and soft sculpture. With the designer, we discussed their pivotal creative concept, Uzumaki's World, the use of innovative compostable yarn, striving to get one's voice heard in predominantly able-bodied fashion spaces, the immense power of community, and more.
Based in Skopje, North Macedonia, the Ludus brand is recognisable by monochrome swaths of draped fabric with occasional subtle gradients and straightforward, crisp silhouettes inspired by timeless tailoring. SWARM MAG sat down with the brand's founder Dragan Hristov to chat agender fashion, unapologetical approach to design, nurturing inspiration, and Slavic textile crafts.
Music journalism is a sight rarely seen at SWARM Mag but some occasions are just too good not to share and recommend. Especially such a project as the INOTA Festival, which took place at the beginning of September this year. Enjoy a stream of observations from the very first year of Hungary's most ambitious audiovisual event.
"Hĕracha" means "a girl" in Chuvash language. Isenkkel and Vella Akhtimer founded the art group and fashion brand HӖRACHA to explore the possibilities of contemporary art entangled with fashion design. In an interview with the artists below, get a primer on Chuvash folklore, traditions and fairy tales that are deconstructed and reinterpreted to find points of contact with the universal human experience.
“The creation has the soul of the creator.” Juhee Park, a young knitwear designer currently residing and working in France, introduced us to her layered amorphous sprawling creatures that seem like they stepped out of her personal glamorous mythology.
“Always a combination of a material and a problem.” Via a captivating interview, Natalia Kopytko invites us to explore her world of childhood archeology, social exclusion and forgotten stories, whether manifested through ceramic sculptures reminiscent of knotted seaweed or installations of stuffed textile organic shapes spilling over into space.