Let’s talk about Polish VOGUE
Interviewed by Michaela Metesová
Beginning of 2018 was undoubtedly a successful start for Polish fashion industry. The most exciting thing is that — the launch of Vogue Poland happened! The release was loud and with the cover like that — the controversy was sparked all over the country. In order to know more, I sat down with fashion business expert Olka Kaźmierczak — who knows how to use creativity to spark change — and discussed her point of view on Vogue Poland.
1. Hello Olka, as a fashion insider and founder of first strategic and creative collective in the fashion and lifestyle industry in Poland, you have to know the fashion business in Poland very well. Can you tell me a bit more about you and your work?
Everything in my professional life began with the blog Fashion PR Girl. I was the first in Polish fashion industry to discuss the topic of strategic communication on such a large scale. From the beginning, my mission was to professionalize the industry. To this end, I founded the strategic collective POP UP GRUPA and the first fashion business academy Fashion PR Talks. In POP UP GRUPA we aim to back distrupters who want to change the game. Our clients are promising brands from the fashion & lifestyle industry, with whom we work on increasing brand value through holistic experience, which includes product, communication and visuals. The academy is in turn to educate professionals who co-create the Polish fashion industry.
2. Is fashion industry something, that has always been interesting to you?
I value fashion for being a great language of communication, but I found myself in the industry by accident. I treat fashion as part of a lifestyle. From the perspective of the aesthetes, I can say that beautiful objects always cause me to beat my heart faster.
3. Last month, the first issue of Vogue Polska came out! What difference it will make for local fashion scene from your point of view?
I expect few things. First of all – that Vogue Poland will show fashion in a broader context and will be a new quality in talking about it. In Poland, fashion is perceived as something frivolous and reduced to a fashionable pattern in a given season. Vogue Poland, and you can see it after the first two numbers, does what it likes. On the first cover, it showed the Polish drabness, on the other one girl in the sweatshirt. I will buy the whole issue at a nearby kiosk so that only Vogue can remain independent and bring breath to the hermetic fashion industry in Poland.
Do not forget that the print magazine is accompanied by a brilliant online edition, for which Hanna Rydlewska invited phenomenal authors. I know that I am beating with delight, but not only me. The quality of Polish online is shown as a role model for people who now create Slovak and Czech editions.
Secondly – I hope that the appearance of Vogue Poland will encourage other fashion brands to enter the Polish market, which will draw Polish brands from the comfort zone and force them to launch their creativity, but also to structure and professionalize.
4. Is there any space in Vogue Polska for young creatives to show off?
Sure! It can be seen already after the first two issues, in which there was a place for Polish niche brands. If Vogue Polska takes its claim seriously – „Before something is in vogue, it is in Vogue”, it will mean that it will also reach for young creative people, who are setting trends in the fashion industry from the bottom up.
5. As Niedenthal said: “Vogue speaks to millions of people around the globe, now it will speak in Polish.” What does the Polish Vogue has to say to its audience? What makes the Polish edition different?
I hope that Vogue Poland will trigger a discussion about the national style & identity – it has already caused it a bit by publishing the first cover. I hope that it will be a mirror strolling around the Polish courtyard.
6. First issue sparked a lot of controversy within the country, especially due to its cover image. What’s your opinion about that?
First of all, this cover is a brilliant marketing action! My heart grew at the industry discussing it, how happy I was with this cat among the pigeons! To argue with educated people was just a pleasure. I was just worried when I saw an article negatively evaluating the Vogue cover on one of the technology blogs. This was the point of view of a typical Pole who wants to have an opinion on every topic and bust the website SEO. The author called the cover „historical”, and the style of Jurgen Teller’s „Instagram cynicism calculated as profit”. In Teller’s cover I see the freedom of a photographer invited to an artistic project. I share the piss of Jamie Beck, who recently wrote to stop telling artists what to do and give them space to experiment. Otherwise, we will end up in averaged, correct aesthetics, and that would be disgustingly boring.
7. We already know, that Czech Republic and Slovakia are another countries from eastern Europe, that will have their own Vogue! Does it make the future look any brighter for creative industry in these post-soviet countries?
It all depends on us – creative, who must start taking matters into their own hands and not wait for Vogue, or any other magazine, to save them from post-soviet oppression. For god sake, we live in Internet times. Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White lately said “My brand was made from Instagram, no pages of Vogue. There was no magazine that was at the right pace.” Vogue isn’t the only one communication channel.
8. As someone who helps direct the fashion brands, how do you see the future of fashion in Poland?
I am an incurable optimist, so I always tell you that it will be great. J I work with Polish brands because I believe in their potential. All you need is a good plan and courage in its implementation and everything can go well. Actually, I do not worry about Polish, but fashion at all. I think it is slowly becoming unfashionable. You know that H&M sleeps on top of unsold clothes worth the 4.3 billion dollars? That’s ridiculous.
9. If you could point out one thing, that needs to be done or changed in Polish fashion industry, what it would be?
I think people have to start cooperating with each other. Meet over the divisions following the example of the American CFDA fashion council. In each of the developed countries there are organizations consolidating the fashion industry. I dream about the one in Poland.
Olka Kaźmierczak – fashion business expert, strategist, founder of strategic collective POP UP GRUPA and fashion business academy Fashion PR Talks. She co-created the strategies of many Polish brands from the fashion & lifestyle industry. Everything in her life began with a blog – now olkakazmierczak.com, once Fashion PR Girl.