Trans-European collaboration to promote student designers – FAULT reviews the recent Fashion Culture competition in Poland

Fashion Culture is an ambitious, innovative project focussed on creating a relationship between Poland and the UK through fashion, art, dance and music. The initiative competition centres around the presentation of work by outstanding students based in both Poland and the UK, namely The International School of Costume and Fashion Design, Krakow School of Art and, from the UK, London College of Fashion and Central St Martins College of Art and Design.

With such emphasis on collaboration and a valuable insight into the new wave of fashion designers, we felt it our duty to cover the event for FAULT.

Karolina Marczuk's collection
Karolina Marczuk’s collection

The catwalk show held in Warsaw was the second of two events by Fashion Culture. The first event saw a similar catwalk show being held in London at The White House on the 6th April with Anka Letycja Walicka claiming first prize. The event attracted some high profile guests and a host of significant sponsors that all helped generate interest for part two in Poland.

The show’s setting was both unique and beautiful, with the catwalk residing in the grounds of a stately building merely stones throw away from the cities Old Town Market Square.

As each designer’s collection appeared on the catwalk, the variation between them became a source of interest for many in the audience. There were no parallels to be drawn between the collections of those designers from the same country as is so often the case. The designs on display were truly an eclectic mix of styles covering all areas.

Representing the UK were designers Aimee Matthew-John, Lily Colley and James Castle. Aimee’s designs were at first glance a contemporary update on the androgynous short suits of recent years, it was upon seeing the back of the outfits that their true value was exposed, the designs were all backless with emphasis being placed on the figures of the models therefore juxtaposing with the initial masculine impact.

Aimee Matthew-John's collection
Aimee Matthew-John’s collection

Lily Colley displayed strong geometric patterns and bold colours with her jewellery presentation that contrasted perfectly with the fragile yet flowing designs from James Castle’s collection. His fantastical depiction of a “woman in an open ocean, searching for a lover, but instead only finding emptiness” contained just the right degree of femininity whilst still remaining bold and memorable.

James Castle's collection
James Castle‘s collection
Lily Colley's collection
Lily Colley‘s collection

Polish designers were represented by Gabriel Bakalarz, Karolina Marczuk and Anka Letycja Walicka.

Gabriel Bakalarz cites slogans such as control and domination as inspiration behind his collection, they varied greatly in texture and colour but were all light in form and construction.

Karolina Marczuk’s designs were again light in form but unlike Gabriels collection the designs were also playfulness in print with geometry, colour and floral patterns plentiful.

Karolina Marczuk's collection
Karolina Marczuk‘s collection

The stand out collection came from Anka Letycja Walicka, her collection borrowed aesthetics from understated neutral-tone designers like Rick Owens. The designs placed great emphasis on shape and texture, the collection was sensual, three dimensional and ethereal featuring lots of leather and wood. Anka’s work earned her first place in the London phase of Fashion Culture.

Anka Letycja Walicka's collection
Anka Letycja Walicka‘s collection

With such a variation in designs and true dedication to their cause it is easy to see how the designers displaying their collections at Fashion Culture were chosen for the event. All of the designers undoubtedly have bright futures ahead of them, and the competition itself was a unique and interesting platform from which the entrants can work onwards and upwards.


Words and photography by Louis Sheridan