There is a ‘Polish way’ of thinking when it comes to work and education. When, like Cezary, you’re a second or third-generation prospective university student, it’s very unlikely that a career in fashion will match your family’s expectations. If you want to take up something creative, you need to come up with your own plan. Like a summer job just after graduating from high school, for instance: “That helped me save up some money to move to Krakow. The School of Artistic Fashion Design is a private school and doesn’t require a portfolio,” Cezary says. He didn’t have such a thing at the time. Having specialised in IT and Maths during his secondary education, his scribbles on the back of his notebooks were the closest thing to one.
Drawing had always been ‘his thing’, but only at the School of Artistic Fashion Design was he capable of combining it with fashion illustration. “I never really specialised in it, but it became my niche, and that’s what I believe got me into Antwerp in the end.” When, after two years in Krakow, he decided to apply to an international school, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts was not his first choice but turned out to be the definitive one. “I applied to the London College of Fashion but got rejected. In those days, Antwerp had just started the entrance exams. I finally had a portfolio to show and so I decided to take a shot. The test consisted of different techniques of illustration. There were hundreds of us that day, but I got in.”
“I don’t like to work with images unless they’re my own. I usually sit and think of something that doesn’t have a visual reference: that stimulates me to come up with one.” – Cezary Zalit