Talks on Fashion, Part Five Michaela Bednárová
Puojd s.r.o, June 5, 2017

Talks on Fashion, Part Five

A brisk girl, Nikola Luzárová, is one of the organisers of the upcoming Urban Market that, apart from others, has brought to Slovakia a unique sale opportunity for designer brands and hand-made producers.
Producing showrooms for Fashion LIVE! belongs to one of the activities in her portfolio.
Listeners of RadioFM might know her voice from the programme Čerstvé Ovocie FM, where, together with Martin Brix, they introduce Slovak creative industry talents.
It’s obvious she’s all in the community that lives in urban style and fashion. We’ve also chosen her for this reason as one of the relevant consultants of our new collection.

Urban Market starts yet this Friday in the building of Faculty of Architecture STU at Námestie slobody 19, in Bratislava. At 4 pm, four floors will open to the festival of design, music, fashion, workshops, and other curiosities. As Puojd, she will leak that if think you’ve seen everything and there’s nothing to surprise you, we’ll delight male population mostly. New hoodies and ties will premiere right at the Urban Market.

Nikola Luzárová, Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová
Nikola Luzárová, Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová

Nikola chose the hoodie Rim Lime from the new collection. Marika Beňadik Majorová has taken care of her beautiful portrait in a gorgeous Fach atrium, Nikola was interviewed by Adriana Mižgárová and Michaela Bednárová for Puojd.

As the Urban Market organiser, you have an overview of current events in the field of design. Is Slovak design equal to the world?

I personally think that we all still underestimate ourselves, we worry about showing off and sometimes, our Slovak negativism influences us so much that we are ignorant to beauty or talent. I don’t think we’re much behind. Maybe we don’t have such options to make the life of creators easier, but on the other hand, it’s important to say how hard it is to break through in a much bigger country than Slovakia.
We’ve got quality in both fashion and product design. Our economic situation is a bit different from, for example, Austrian. Sometimes it’s a challenge for me to find designers here because they fail at presenting themselves. In schools, they teach them “how it’s supposed to look”, not how “to communicate it”, and that’s probably the stumbling rock.
We also can’t expect that a designer will also make production, marketing, PR, and sales. That’s too much work for one person. Of course, it’s impossible to do it all at once; everybody needs time for development.
But to stay off negativism, let’s look at it from a different angle: When I started with Urban Market, I had no idea myself where to get jewellery from somebody who doesn’t sell in a large retail store. In the 6-7 years, the situation has changed, and that means just one thing: it’s all heading in the right direction. People are getting more information and can consider quality and value of products. And I’m always happy when I hear that some of us have succeeded. It’s such a nice feeling when some of our “family” get noticed, that’s when I know it’s got a real point.

How do you choose the selected ones from all the promising designers?

In short, it’s a year-long process for me; it splits just into editions and events. I enjoy going to different exhibitions and markets to see how people can present themselves, how they work with space, and also how customers themselves perceive them.
Both space and theme influence the whole selection. Sometimes we have a large space at our disposal, such as the Faculty of Architecture, STU, that offers us a lot.
The selection process itself is also influenced by having an open registration to every edition. Anyone can register thanks to that. It’s the option for many starting brands to make themselves known. Then there are the evergreens, who are expected for their new collection or new product. Last but not least, there’re brands that I follow and want to bring them to Slovakia very much. Sometimes I travel to see designers, or we randomly bump into each other, and then I have the chance to talk to them about what they’re working on and what influences them, and I also tell them about how it works at us. Sometimes bureaucracy and legislation stand in the way of my dreams. Sadly, it’s here, and that’s the reason why many brands just don’t sell here.
Selecting is a demanding process since you must consider every “request” separately, play with the space dispositions, imagine how it might look. There are pressures, of course, I’d lie if I said I don’t put any emotions in it.

Tell us how a week before organising such a big event as the Urban Market looks?

I sometimes have no idea what day it is, and I wake up in the morning realising what I’ve forgotten about. I always have a large floor plan of the whole project in front of me, so I get familiarised with it from the start to the end. Whenever I see it, I’m alert!
We’re all windswept after the years, and we can set it up in a way that suppresses panic and avoids being hysterical (i.e. mainly me). The week before the event is primarily about production meetings, spamming all communication channels where we remind ourselves what we can’t forget, who needs to get what, when to buy all we need. In it all, we go to site inspections - the absolute necessity for me now is a 5-meter measuring tape and cutter - a woman can never tell then they come in handy. I sometimes tell myself that an overall would fit or one particular spare outfit in the office that I could use when I run between several locations where we inspect, meet, work.
Then, it’s also work at a computer where we sometimes deal with bizarre issues that come along.

How many people take part in its organisation, who of you are the biggest pullers?

We’re the brave 7, and we’ve got all perfectly shared so we can support each other in need and help each other when we’re sometimes drowning (Zuzana Fajta, Denisa Chylová, Martin Brix, Dalibor Vidiečan, Tomáš Augustín, Matej Chudic, and me).
I can’t imagine we’d lose one of us; that’s probably one of my nightmares. Thanks to them, I’ve learnt there’s always a solution to everything.

Nikola Luzárová, Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová
Nikola Luzárová, Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová

Do you see positive impact of Urban Market in Slovak design development?

We’ve definitely influenced something. We organise a big event that offers opportunity and space to present domestic production (not just from Slovakia) to many visitors who even have no idea what are all the things made here.
Of course, other activities we do are important, and we should not stop with them. I’m talking about our programme in Radio FM ((Čerstvé Ovocie _fm) where we present stories of authors themselves about how they started making, what led them to it, how it comes to be, and so on.
Some brands have grown up with us and we with them. It’s such an interactive process of learning from each other. We’re also growing and learning from mistakes and moving the whole event further. I’m waiting for Urban Market to get a festival status because it more or less is a festival. Its programme is not just about someone coming in and buying something. There are discussions, shows, workshops, exhibitions, concerts, etc.
I personally don’t have many dreams regarding Urban. Of course, I’d like to push its quality further, also in size and programme. Cooperation with DAAD influences me personally, we do our Spring edition with them. Our common discussions and planning want to bring to Slovakia a bit different design and fashion – to make the event more of an exposition.

Where do you think Urban Market will head to?

I see the future mainly in the need to start responding to specific questions that resonate. To start approaching the importance of local production and also addressing why it’s good to slow down in the making. Also in helping creators in a different way: with business workshops and alike. We need to find the right form to make it sound less like a dictate because I myself represent the opinion that it’s possible to have discussion about such things differently and we need to attract and appeal to people. I think they’d rather get what’s important to do that way.

Since Urban Market is the project you regularly focus a lot of your energy on, what matters to you when you choose what to wear?

As I almost never don’t go to shopping malls anymore, I mostly get clothes right at the trade fairs or then at somebody who makes them for me. I admit that convenience is in the first place for me and then comes some aesthetics. First, I need to touch everything to make sure the material impresses me, or it doesn’t. I probably don’t keep the “suffer for beauty” philosophy. I can’t imagine myself on pins and needles in something rough but beautiful at the same time.
What matters too is what I need the given garment for. Mostly I consider how to combine it or if I could cycle in it.
I sometimes even behave like I follow my instincts very much, or I’m mindless. When I spot something I like, I just have to have it, and then it’s probably very simple.
I must admit that my friend and stylist, Zuzana Laučíková, often helps me with making choices. She can always save me and make me look like a beautiful woman, so the selection is influenced by a third party.

Masculine or feminine style? What do you, in this diverse times, prefer and why?

I see myself as a bit of a tramp. I see fashion as a kind of uniform, a role I’m taking. In the past years, I’ve had this dilemma with myself: Whether the outfits represent me or I represent them.
I’d best prefer to be able to dress like from a sci-fi movie, wear special kimonos, uniforms, and then the world might get a bit less complicated. And maybe not.
I love shirts, most of my clothes are shirts. It occurs to me that they are also for “business” and for a drink, ok with sneakers and look good also with Oxfords. That’s my “must-have” piece.
Now I get high on light coats, so I’ve got one at home that looks like an overall coat, but it’s actually a dress that I’ll never wear as a dress. Then I’ve got one lab coat with Urban Market embroidery that is meant for work, so only for the event.
When I don’t wear light coats and shirts, then I’m definitely in oversized tees and pants.

Nikola Luzárová, Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová
Nikola Luzárová, Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová

Do you prefer tailor-made clothing or have you easily identified with Puojd’s offering of one-size-fits-all concept?
I like both. Tailor-made clothing is more about me because I try to contribute to how it looks in its final phase, how I want to feel wearing it. But this process is more lengthy, and I can’t imagine that my entire wardrobe would consist of tailor-made pieces only. It's got its charm, and it’s exceptional, but I know that even for a designer, making bespoke is more demanding. On the other hand, you don’t play on certainty. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out as a customer or designer intends it, they all have their own vision, too.
In my view, Puojd’s concept responds to today’s fast world. We need everything quickly and now. I want to be dressed quickly, look good, and I don’t want to wait. I want to wear complicated pieces, spend no long hours in front of a mirror and try to combine garments with what I already have. That rarely works out for me.
That’s why I like unity of colours, simple line, and when there’s something one-size or over-sized, it probably suits me most.
The new collection appears to me like an opportunity to play with it all and shake off established rules. Maybe Puojd will start up a revolution (I’d like that) and women will understand that a shirt doesn’t necessarily need to be worn with buttons in front and that a dress can be a tee and a tee can be cut down to breast.
To me, it’s also Michaela’s new view on clothing. The new collection brings minimalism that doesn’t necessarily have to mean some austerity, I see it more as putting female beauty in front and also as accentuating material uniqueness. Now it’s on every woman to find a piece that will help her shine.

Nikola Luzárová, Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová
Nikola Luzárová, Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová

You’re working for ZOOT at the moment, what’s your focus there? Is it your dream job?

I’ve cooperated with ZOOT for some time now thanks to Urban Market. So we somehow knew about each other. They had one opening that was more or less a great fit for me.
What I do there is called “Own Label Coordinator”, what in brief means that I take care of some brands that ZOOT sells. I contribute to development of some designs, and I hope I’ll manage to influence some collections that we will sell.
This work is full of freedom and at the same time, working with designers is my dream come true. It’s not just a free-time “project” or internship.
I see it as a tremendous opportunity where I can utilise what I’ve learned in all those years and on the other hand, now I can see how fashion business works.