Puojd Headstrong Michaela Bednárová
Puojd s.r.o, October 21, 2014

If you like puojd, you’ve probably already met him. The guy in marketing and advertisment has helped the brand to take off. He creates advertisement camapigns and thinks that products by Slovak designers shouldn’t end up exclusively on models. Michal Belej.

Photo: Ján Ďurina
Photo: Ján Ďurina

Are you crazy about fashion? How did you get inside this world?

I can’t really say I’m crazy about it, I just have a lot of friends who earn their living by fashion and I’m interested in what they’re working on. I’ve known the photographer Jakub Guylás for a long time, he introduced me to Miška and asked me to be the model for puojd. I think those were my very first fashion shots whatsoever. I took it so seriously that I went to the gym to get ready, and when the photo session took place, I could barely move my arms.

Has your closet changed since you’re friends with fashion designers? Do you like wearing Slovak fashion?

I don’t have a strickly defined style, but in the beginning I got a little carried away and I got a few extragavant pieces that ask for special occasion to wear them. Now I prefer things with interesting design, but work for everyday. I like the Forrest (“Les”) collection, it’s very bold, but mature, it doesn’t look like a fad.

Photo: Ján Ďurina
Photo: Ján Ďurina

Do you also have an original taylor-made piece in your closet?

I have a sweater from Lenka Sršňová that she designed on the basis of a detail from a dress that I liked and which was originally in the Bad Boys Wanted collection, but for me she turned it into a very simple and elegant piece. I have a few original and taylor-made pieces from puojd that were created while designing new products. I don’t have a feeling, though, that I’m a trendsetter, it’s really not as hard as it seems to make a deal with designers to have something tailor-made.

What about advertisment and Slovak fashion?

Many people notice Slovak designers from tabloids in the context of the cream of society or “lifestyle” topics that are absurd, such as trends in Christmas tree decorating. This is one way to present fashion, but I think if you don’t present it in a deeper way, you will attract customers with no deep interest. But there are many patient people who raise public awereness and educate the target group, which, if it grows, can kick-start the fashion business.

Photo: Ján Ďurina
Photo: Ján Ďurina

What could help the Slovak brands?
They shouldn’t forget that fashion is a business that needs to earn its living. The young designers are like art students, they create concept and they’re happy that they have a fashion show or their stuff in magazine. But that doesn’t pay the bills and if no one buys their stuff after the show, something went wrong and they spent their money for the production to no avail. They need ordinary people to wear their stuff, not just models. The point is not to get on the runway, but into the closets. I believe it’s a success if someone can make a commercial potential from an interesting concept.

Do you have an instant plan on how to do it? How to make a brand’s marketing better?

There’s no instant plan, each brand has its own way. When creating the communication of puojd, we managed to establish the target group and the brand’s originality. We didn’t wait for puojd to impress Slovak fashion magazines as a topic, instead we created those topics and content on our own. We created a concept for people, who don’t take themselves too seriously, we switched the models for people with real personality, social status for life attitude, reservedness for accessibility. In our collaboration we had a very close relationship and we put in our personal style and humor and then the communication started to take its special personality.

Photo: Ján Ďurina
Photo: Ján Ďurina

And what to avoid?
Every trend has a limited lifespan and there’s no need to take hold of it by hook or crook. With puojd I worked on the Slovak topic, and both streetstyle and social networks really moved us forward. Now is a totally different time, the Slovak symbol on a T-shirt is a very sensitive topic, streetstyle has taken on product placement of big brands, and social networks don’t have as natural impact as they used to. I like when people go their own way and burn down conventions rather than follow blindly.

Thank you for the interview
by Elena Senková