This sparkeling face covered in gorgeous freckles belongs to Magdalena Mulkiewicz, Stockholm based design consultant / fashion writer / teacher / jewelry designer / networker. We wanted to talk with her about her Polish roots, her multitasking talent and ethical fashion consumption that she engaged with recently in a colaboraration with the polish label IZZYnoteasy:
/ How would you finish these sentences, Magdalena?
passion means…doing things you love without feeling that you’ve worked for a single hour.
A fat cat looks up and…says: “What do you mean I’m adopted?”
Better some gum under the table than… in your hair
A day without talking is…worse than a fight with smashing plates.
/ What projects are you working on at the moment?
▽ Multitasking is my cureless state of mind so I’m usually engaged with few projects at the same time, but surprisingly the more I do, the more organized I am. I guess it has become a way for me to control my messy attitude. Right now I’m collaborating with the fashion brand IZZYnoteasy, writing an article about costume design for the Swedish Royal Dramatic Theatre and after finishing a project with a high-end retailer in Stockholm I’ve moved on to the next challenge- launching a digital marketing strategy for a luxurious lingerie label. In the meanwhile I teach Swedish and craft silver jewelry, but that’s more of a hobby. (laughs)
/ You co-designed a sweatshirt collection for the polish fashion label IZZYnoteasy. Was that the first collaboration?
▽ Yes, I met Iza, the designer of the brand, during Polish Fashion Week last spring and talking about fashion and Scandinavian design we instantly fell in love with each other. What started as a casual chat turned into a great friendship and as we got to know each other better, ideas about collaborations started to take form. First I designed a jewelry line for her S/S13 show and for this season we decided to create a basic line of sweatshirts together.
/ What is special about this collection?
▽ The motto of the collection is “Buy less choose wise”. At IZZYnoteasy we try to raise consumer awareness on ethical consumption and promote the idea of slow fashion. Our sweatshirts live beyond the season both in their quality and design. All pieces are entirely made in Poland from high quality oeko-tex- certified fabrics. With this we want to say no to cheap sweatshop labor and promote conscious fashion. Of course the cost of the production process is reflected in the price of the garments but our customers have shown us that there is a need for a street style fair trade fashion and we are happy that more and more people favor quality before quantity.
/ That is a great concept. Did you like the design process? What was the best part about it?
▽ I truly enjoy every part of it! I love the brainstorming part when you expand your own creative limits and turn your ideas into sketches. Well, sourcing for materials and waiting for the fabrics to arrive surely is the least cool part of it, but when all that is done and the package with sample garments arrives the thrill is better than unboxing Christmas gifts when you were a child!
/ And it was worth the wait! The material feels amazing! How come?
▽ For this collection we used high density cotton blend from a weaving mill that works according to the öko-tex standards, which means that the fabrics are not treated with any harmful chemicals. It’s the power of nature, baby!
/ Oh wow! Where do you sell the collection?
▽ In our online store at izzynoteasy.com, at asos marketplace, a number of online and physical stores in Poland and in selected stores in Stockholm and Malmö, for example Tjallamalla.
/ Would you say there are any Polish labels that should be more known internationally?
▽ Oh definitely! There are many cool Polish brands that I believe deserve more international recognition! I think we are still dealing with a post-soviet stigma of Poland, but well-travelled people are rediscovering Poland as European country with a great heritage and impressive design portfolio. The list is countless but some of the street labels worth googling are Nenukko, Mr.Gugu&Ms.Go, Thunder Blonde, Horror!Horror! and Herzlich Willkommen. The store www.shwrm.com is a good place to start discovering Polish fashion.
/ Which Swedish labels do you like best?
▽ Same here, the list is long, but besides the obvious Swedish fashion giants like Acne, Hope and Dagmar I admire V Ave Shoe Repair for their appreciation of traditional tailoring, Altewaisaome for their progressive edge and Filippa K for their timeless approach.
/ Would you say there are big differences between Swedish and Polish fashion design?
▽ Yes, I believe it is. Fashion is a great mirror for social sensibilities and since Polish and Swedish reality vary, despite the geographical closeness, the national tastes remain different, although I must say that the common thread between the countries gets thicker with each season. Women’s fashion in Poland has a wider color spectrum, the cut is more feminine and there’s definitely more details like patterns, decorative trims and bling accessories on the streets. I’ve lived in Stockholm for over five years now, so naturally I’ve adopted a more toned-down, androgyny chic style, which I think is very timeless and comfortable but it never ceases me to surprise that my sober dress still turns heads whenever I’m in Poland.
/ I know you often engage yourself with questions concerning ethical consumption and social responsibility which I figure is an an important but often enough frustrating work. No shopping is no solution, right? So, what would you advice to do for conscious consumers with a passion for style? How can one make a change?
▽ Consumers have more access to information about the products they buy than ever and I think being aware of what impact our buying choices have on other people and the environment is a part of being a responsible citizen. We give money to charity and recycle our garbage but so many times our fashion choices leave a very negative environmental footprint.
I’m a huge fan of supporting local industries and therefore I often look for domestically or EU-produced garments. Big retailers have spoiled us with cheap wear-and-tear fashion but it’s our responsibility to know better and “buy less and choose wise”. And besides there are so many great ways of giving our clothes a second or a third life: re-use, re-make, swop or give it to charity shops. We usually shop for clothes out of the urge for novelty, not necessity, so instead of buying more and more, we can try to re-make our wardrobe or pass it forward to somebody that will see a new sparkle in our old rags.
/ What’s the most inspiring place in Stockholm?
▽ The Södermalm district, I often go for a stroll in the area and indulge in vintage boutiques, cafés with home-baked treats and small shops with the least expected things. I also enjoy going to museums, The Museum of Natural History and The Museum of Photography being my favorite. And of course my beloved flea markets- what would a summer be without some good bargaining outdoors?! And it works both ways- selling on flea markets is a great way for repairing my budget and buying pre-owned objects is an economical and sustainable consumer behavior PLUS you get a chance to network with like-minded people and get some tasty homemade fika (Swedish coffee break with some sweet treat) for few kronas.
/ Ok, talking about Fika and like-minded people: imoprtant questions:
Daim or Dumle?
▽ Daim, in a chocolate or as ice cream!
/ Silver or Gold?
▽ Both, preferably at the same time.
/ Gaultier or McQueen?
▽ Adore’em both, please don’t make me choose! I’d love a fashion cocktail with Gaultier’s quirky queerness and McQueens mystique silhouette.
/ That cocktail sounds delicious! Thanks so much for the inspiring interview and good luck with all your projects. You are a real Slashmuse, what a pleasure!