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Last month, Polish streetwear brand MISBHV hosted its first runway presentation, “Polish Jazz,” at The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw. For Spring/Summer 2019, founder and head designer, Natalia Maczek, and creative director, Thomas Wirski, collaborated with artist Roslaw Szaybo to create a series of prints inspired by street posters and Polish Pop Culture of the 1960s.
For the show, as well, MISBHV included a quote from the Polish School of Posters, illustrating the collection’s references: “The end of World War II marked the beginning of a new period in the development of Polish poster art. Building sites throughout Poland were enclosed with wooden fences which were quickly covered with posters. These fences became the substitutes for the absent museums and galleries, and posters became the art of the street. During this time, at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, poster design flourished, and a new branch of art emerged.”
With this in mind, the ready-to-wear label infused strong DIY sensibility with pops of post-Soviet references, reconstructed denim, oversized hoodies, European-sourced textiles, biker jackets, cowboy boots, and even…metal and leather ankle straps for backless heels.
To learn more about the new collection and the creative practice behind MISBHV, Whitewall spoke with Maczek and Wirski about art, responsible design, and a DIY philosophy.
WHITEWALL: Tell us a bit about your SS19 collection.
THOMAS WIRSKI: “Polish Jazz,” our Spring/Summer 2019 collection was created alongside Roslaw Szaybo, one of the iconic Polish poster makers, graphic designers, photographers. It looked back at the golden era of Polish Pop Culture—the 1960s through a very modern lens.
WW: Tell us a bit about your creative practice. Where does it begin (with travel, with a sketch, with a fabric, etc.)?
NATALIA MACZEK: I prefer to start with the fabrics—the color, the movement, the shine, the feel. The fabric than takes a shape of a garment that goes through constant changes until landed right. At least in the womenswear, the graphic design doesn’t come into play until the very end of the process.
WW: You began creating when you were 19 by customizing shirts and sweatshirts for friends. Tell us a bit about keeping that DIY sensibility but evolving as a designer.
NM: Poland’s spirit for me is the embodiment of the DIY philosophy. It’s very punk. No matter where the brand takes me it’s always deep in me. The Polish idea of beauty is very, well, unpolished.
WW: What about street and pop culture is inspiring to you and translates through the brand?
TW: Art is never detached from reality or society (which provides both context and counterpoints to the work), thus it is an important source of various points of inspiration for the brand which, again, cannot exist removed from reality of today.
WW: What type of responsibilities do designers have today?
TW: To create beauty and convey truth, despite differences in our understanding of what beauty is. There should be little doubt about the truth.
WW: Where do you particularly like to travel to for inspiration?
NM: I love Paris. Even though I spend a lot of time there it’s still the most inspiring environment for me creatively. I love the girls too!
WW: How does art influence your design?
TW: When creating our signature camouflage, we looked at the early works of Jean Arp. When working on prints we often go back to [Andy] Warhol. Even though we work primarily in black and white, I love the color palette of [Paul] Cezanne and would turn to it when in doubt.