Talks on Fashion, Part One
Read about the creation of the Village collection in the following lines. Jana Gappa Chrappová and Michaela Bednárová, the Puojd’s brand designer and founder, met for the interview.
When Puojd’s Miška announced me that she’s preparing a new collection that will be universally wearable, I couldn’t imagine it. A garment of one size and cut that fits all, who will put it on? Impossible! However, if you know Miška, you’re also aware she’s fearless of challenges. She’s invited several girls to her studio. We’re no regular figures, but women with bodies the mother nature has given to us. We talked about fashion, what we like, what suits us, and what we’d never wear. Meanwhile, Miška worked on concepts, and we were trying them on. Moreover, then we were supposed to choose one model that would be the one for us, and we would stand in front of the camera in it. “Just one, really? But they all fit! They’re all unique!” – You could hear in the studio. The new Village collection has a strange power. You suddenly stop worrying about your figure. Farewell to complexes! You make the pieces unique. Miška’s concept excited me, and we talked about it a lot.
Michaela Bednárová, textile designer. Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová (Tonbogirl)
Why did you decide to create this type of universal collection?
Two years ago, I decided I need a break from fashion. The system of work I had had was very time-consuming and exhausting. I thought I would never come back to fashion. However, it was just up to the point when my relatives started to persuade me that I should go on.
That’s why I was thinking about the cause of my silence. What frustrated me, what I did wrong, what I would want to wear myself, what would my customers appreciate ... The answer was reducing wardrobe, creating simple and generally wearable cuts, but mostly focus on high-quality textile design.
One-size clothing – a bold idea. Did you worry? Or you had no doubts it would work?
I wasn’t that scared. I’ve had a couple of things tested thanks to my friends, and I more or less have a clue what helps each figure and what doesn’t. Of course, there’s a huge difference between a woman of S size with a height of 150 cm (yours truly) and a woman of L size with a height of 180 cm. I tried to hide these differences with the possibility of variable wearing and also with recommended layering with essential clothing.
I engaged several women in the creation process; they were supposed to be a sample of the target group for this type of clothing. They are mature, have a strong personality, and keep up with local fashion. They are successful and don’t accentuate their femininity superficially (also among them Marika Tonbogirl she’s been documenting the creation of this collection). Based on the consultations, I've developed several cuts, and I must say that my assumption of who will reach for which piece has been right. You’ll see them yourselves in the interviews we’re preparing for our blog.
Rim Type Hoodie, Photo: Michaela Dutková
So there won’t be any changes to the models?
I developed this concept to make my work more efficient. Puojd offers a very broad portfolio of products and services: fashion, gifts, custom design, interior textiles ... I have done all of these things myself so far – just me. The time had come when I had to evaluate how to move forward and get rid of what blocked me. Making to measure takes much time, and if a person doesn’t just focus on this area, moreover, it is also financially unsustainable.
I believe that people will welcome the newly launched concept and will be able to identify with it.
What else will we find in the collection. What makes it even more distinct?
The collection consists of two phases: One focuses on the cut part and creates a simple line of clothing and the other deals with the design and a shift to new technologies.
I will launch the second phase in the spring when I will introduce a collection of jacquard woven patterns. Then all the garments will get a little more pronounced look. The clothing that will be created from the fabric will be, also, 100% local.
I have made the cuts in a way that reduces waste. Consumption in the "over-size" pieces is slightly bigger than in conventional cuts, causing an increase in prices compared to the original Puojd’s product. However, times are changing, and people should start thinking whether they need a wardrobe full of relatively cheap stuff, or if they would prefer to invest in the future and ease our planet by not supporting fast fashion.
Versatile Type Dress, Photo: Michaela Dutková
What have you learned during the creation process?
I’ve become even more mindful of the proper materials selection and garment making. I had a vision that I’d find a medium-sized company for the production of small series, but it didn’t work out. So now I'm trying different forms of sustainable production until I come across the right balance of responsibility, cost, and quality. Production is always a new experience and great struggle.
Who and what are the things that inspired you?
Since my childhood, I’ve loved the poetry of the Slovak folklore, I used to dance for many years, and at the end of my dance career, I began to dig in deeper in the folk culture. I was looking for causes, connections, hidden messages ... It stayed with me and, therefore, I am particularly fascinated by the intersections of tradition with modern elements.
The person who showed me how to see things differently is my boyfriend who is currently studying architecture. It’s obvious that the endless trips for minimalist architecture have left a mark on me. I enjoy the purity of my shift the most.
You have moved from the Ear of Wheat to Poppy Heads. Do you believe that they will succeed just the same?
I won’t deny it; I was creating the Poppies with the aim to create equally robust and timeless pattern, just like in the Ear of Wheat. The poppy heads reminded me of childhood when we were in granny’s kitchen pouring poppy heads.
Mass Type Blouse, Photo: Michael Dutková
What are the other patterns you used? And what about materials?
I have chosen old wooden fences with their imperfect gaps or lime tree blossoms — a symbol of the Slavs — for the rural topic. A large part of patterns will consist of old metal door photographs which reveal different paint colours layered over the years.
All designs based on graphics technology will also be crafted in jacquard weaving which is, for me, something like "crème-de-la-crème" of textiles. I must thank my friends Sestrice for the discovery of this technology; they make fantastic woven scarfs for carrying babies, and we’ve cooperated first time this year. Linen appeals to me the most; the material is excellent. I secretly hope that, eventually, we will be able to start a project that will build on Kežmarok’s linen tradition.
Minimalism, versatility, layering ... Where do you think fashion will head next? Where would you like to move in your designs?
I am not a prophet, but I see that purity and function resonate among my generation. When, after years, I started coming up with a collection, I faced the question whether I'll forcibly stick with my style that I created 5-8 years ago, or whether to follow my intuition and not be afraid to change the whole concept radically. I told myself that I wanted to do fashion the way I’d like to wear it myself. These feelings change, and we evolve, and it is better to move on and take risks than to stand still.
First pieces of the Village collection Photo: Marika Beňadik Majorová (Tonbogirl), location: Fach, Bratislava