Representing the creative future

Cross-university learning: The Academy of Fine Arts in Poland collaborates with fashion alumni around the world

Discover the Polish institute’s annual Master Workshops

Collaboration, knowledge exchange and mentorship are often one of the most valuable features of young designers’ education, offering students an essential outside perspective.

Established in 2020 by the Fashion Design Institute at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lodz, Poland, POWER is an aptly named initiative created to develop student knowledge, skills and approach to design, giving young creatives a unique opportunity to join forces with a line-up of established fashion designers.

To celebrate the end of the project, students documented their finished looks through a collaborative lookbook and shoot. Photographed against the backdrop of the Academy’s old weaving studios, we are premiering the 2022 edition of POWER.

Supported by the EU funding program and held in person from 2021, POWER brings together the Academy’s fashion design students with experienced graduates from top schools and industry names who all have their own expansive knowledge of working in fashion; including Royal Academy of Arts Antwerp graduates Florentina Leitner and Stefan Kartchev, along with Parsons’ Natalie Zipfl.

This year the academy, which holds the title of the oldest fashion design institute in Poland, welcomed a brand new assemblage of industry professionals and design masters to Lodz for the 4th edition of POWER; Central Saint Martins alumni and this year’s LVMH finalist Paolina Russo, Sól Hansdóttir and Vivien Canadas alongside Jisoo Baik and Czech designer Jakub Polanka, both graduates from Paris’ Institut Français de la Mode.

“For us, the experience these masters share with our students is extremely valuable,” says designer and founder of the project, Maja Bączyńska who first launched POWER in 2020 as a series of online workshops as an initiative to develop the students’ knowledge and skills during the Covid-19 lockdown when even the world’s biggest fashion designers were struggling to find inspiration.

Anastasiya Zaretskaya
Dawid Zawierucha
Filip Kozak
Julia Burak
Maciej Stańczak
Maciej Stańczak
Marta Kulik
Marta Mortka
Michalina Kowalewska
Natalia Graczewska
Natalia Graczewska
Natalia Kowalska
Niku Wolak
Jagoda Skawska + Olga Galińska
Olga Galiń
Olimpia Patrzałek + Oliwia Matlak
Tatiana Kierkosz
Weronika Åaskawiec
Wiktoria KroÌ
Yana Darashuk
Zosia Safinowska
Zuzanna Wilczyń

“The project shows the students different ways of thinking about the design process, problems and new ways to solve them.” For Maja, an alum of Lodz’s academy herself the project also sees the activation as a unique opportunity for young creatives to face real-world challenges they’ll likely face post-graduation, “the process also includes confronting authority and working under time pressure, which is a valuable lesson for our students.”

Held over the course of 5 workshops and masterclasses, the 2023 iteration of POWER challenged students to design a mini-collection of garments. Starting with gathering inspirations, analysis and collage to sourcing fabric, toiling and draping before finally making a selection of looks and silhouette concepts, all whilst being supported by this year’s selection of industry mentors.

“We plan to continue this project because we always get such great feedback from our students,” adds Maja. “The workshops are always very intense for them but they enjoy it and the opportunity to connect with new people involved in the industry.”