What’s behind you? Is that a pile of blankets?
This is for my next collection they’re blankets made for the Polish army during World War II but they didn’t end up being used so they are very cheap here in Poland. I found some sellers who had huge warehouses with these blankets stacked on top of each other. They are very good quality, somehow they are over 50 years old and still perfectly intact and colourful.
If it was for the military how come it is so joyful? There are so many colours and patterns…
Yes exactly, I spoke to the man that sold them. They were also made in grey, used on the battlefields. The colourful ones I’ve been buying were used in military hospitals to cheer up the soldiers. What’s weird is that the grey ones are harder to get and more expensive, people buy them for role-playing or films.
You graduated recently, what was your experience of fashion school like?
I graduated two months ago, from the International School of Design in Poland. I’m 20, so when I finished high school, there were a lot of emotions behind choosing to study something creative. I went to a very mathematical and scientific school, so when I decided I wanted to do fashion I didn’t even have a portfolio. I was lucky that I didn’t need a portfolio to get into the school I went to, but it was only a two-year course and then Covid happened a few months into my first year, so I basically did everything online.
How was that?
It was tough!
“I bought mats to cut on and all the tools and I would really just sit every day, work on my patterns and make toiles. I bought my first sewing machine during my first year of school and my first encounter with sewing was back then. ” – Mikolaj Żurek
Really? Okay, you know most people are trying to be so positive about it, trying to say what they’ve gained from it but you’re being very honest.
Yeah, I don’t want to insult my school or teachers but it was just really hard to learn things like construction, sewing and so on just through online courses.
So how were they teaching? Especially someone like you who came from a mathematical background. You had no idea how to construct a garment right?
I really got into the construction side of things. I bought mats to cut on and all the tools and I would really just sit every day, work on my patterns and make toiles. From that everything just started to grow, I bought my first sewing machine during my first year of school and my first encounter with sewing was back then.
So, what made you want to go into fashion?
I live in Warsaw now but I grew up in Bielsko-Biała, a city in south Poland with mountains. It’s beautiful but no one in my circle of friends did fashion, I was the only person who was interested in it. The answer is I don’t know. I finished high school and I just decided I didn’t want to do maths or go and do any more education in that field. I decided that this is what I wanted to do, what I want to pursue and somehow it became a fantastic experience.
Do you regret any of those decisions?
No, I love it, the only thing I regret is not thinking about my future earlier so I wasn’t able to build my portfolio.
But you’re only 20!
Yeah, I know, but right after finishing high school I had to make a decision and if I’d started thinking about it a bit earlier then maybe I would have gotten into a better school and had more time to develop my work.