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WHY ME, WHY ME

Self-professed trash transformer, Polish fashion designer and painter Marlena Czak explores the perfect balance of sustainability, ready-to-wear, tailored-to-fit and unique artistic expression.

WORDS BY THE AUTHOR / In my collections, I usually oscillate between real and unreal worlds. Ambiguity, imagination’s exotica and transgressions influence me the most. What fascinates me is diving into the world of my imagination. Finding bridges between concepts and the ergonomics of the human body. Exploring traditional tailoring with 

attempts to push boundaries. My goal is to design useful, environmentally- and body-friendly clothes. Therefore, I focus on four factors: craftsmanship, quality, ergonomy, invention.

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My master collection titled „Why Me, Why Me“ contains handmade unique fabrics. I use needle-felting techniques with textile scraps, which is very demanding and makes each piece unique. I transform trash into a piece of embroidery. It gets new features. The most interesting about this technique is the fact that there are different transformations – all depend on the fibres and weaves. Working on it was exploring new areas of craftsmanship. I am going to develop this technique in my next collections with the goal to create luxury clothing, standing at the intersection of haute couture and ready-to-wear apparel.

Special spiritual states are the main inspiration for the „Why Me, Why Me“ collection. There are three things that can provoke this special spiritual state – Annunciation, after-images and post-impressionist paintings. While experiencing the special spiritual moment, you are always on the edge of reality, sanctity and imagination. That’s where the ambiguity of the collection comes from.

The duality means also the meeting of two spheres – the sacred and the profane. Both were typical for Italian proto-renaissance paintings from Siena and Florence. The first style was strongly connected to the previous Byzantine tendencies while the second had initial attempts to be more realistic. Simone Martini connects these two tendencies in his painting Annunciation. The image of the main character – Saint Mary – seems to be far from the typical sacral art canon. Her facial and body expressions suggest her unwillingness to become a mother. She is close to say „yes“ but she still had not accepted her destiny. Her image is full of glory but, on the other hand, it shows her as a human, as a woman. It is the moment when fear meets humility. After a while, all prejudices disappears. Martini shows this short but eternal moment. For a while, Saint Mary seems to escape into her inner world, full of naïve prejudices . Her attitude became the main inspiration for the needle-felted embroidery in the collection: sun, flowers, growing crops, sprouts, post-pregnancy stretch marks, the bust and the belly of different sizes.

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CURACZAK (23 of 25)
CURACZAK (11 of 25)
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CURACZAK (10 of 25)

My intention was to lose the contrast between the sacred and the profane. Therefore, the collection contains both unique objects as well as ready-to-wear garments. I’ve simplified patterns and used a machine instead of a hand-held device, which produces a different kind of felting that is more likely to be worn and ironed. Nevertheless, the garments remain unique as the technique is very demanding.

CURACZAK (24 of 25)
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CURACZAK (14 of 25)
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Needle felting with fabric cuttings is my own invention. This technique allows me to make a unique, double-faced fabric. The left side is full of small loose cuttings (garbage), which I put on the fabric and then prick with a needle. As a result, on the right side we can see fluffy fibres becoming embroidery. Profanum (cuttings) turns into sacrum (fluffy fibres) through linen fabric. It took about 3,000 hours to prepare the fabrics for the collection.

CURACZAK (9 of 25)

BIO (BY THE AUTHOR) / Hi, my name is Marlena Czak. My artistic pseudonym is Marlena Czak. I like fashion and to paint oil paintings. For breakfast, I eat daisy oatmeal except on the 15th of May when I replace them with forget-me-not. In my leisure time, I do various transgressions – jumping over hurdles or spontaneous escapades to the beach with Angus Wilson.

PH CREDITS
Photography by Marta Kaczmarek


VIDEO CREDITS
Directed by Mare Kaczmarek
Screenplay by Mare Kaczmarek and Marlena Czak
Creative direction by Marlena Czak
Starring Julia Kuzka, Grażyna Jasiewicz, Zuza Wilkirska
Music by Piotr Kurek
Sound Filip Wolski
Make-up artist Anna Kobalczyk
Set design Miranda Walczak
Style Marlena Czak
Style assistant Alicja Tkaczyk
Special thanks for Galeria Olszewscy and Małgorzata Ciacek
Zrealizowano przy udziale środków finansowych z budżetu Województwa Łódzkiego

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