Graduate Fashion Week 2018 – Marta Kazmierczak

Yet another academic year has come and gone and with it a new class of Fashion students graduate. This year’s standard of BA collections was as high as ever, making it exceptionally hard to focus on key individuals. But we couldn’t help but be overly impressed, enthused and curious by a handful of students certainly set to take the industry in their stride… over to you Marta Kazmierczak.

Marta Kazmierczak – Edinburgh College of Art

This collection won the David Bond textile award. Is anyone surprised? No we aren’t either! Marta Kazmierczak definitely has tremendous talent; showing us the future of fashion and textiles through her lazer cut fabric combinations.

What was the basic path that your research took to form your final concept?

While researching for the collection I looked at a lot of visual material such as: pictures, photographs, artwork and films.

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One of the big themes that inspired my collection was illusions and optical effects. I looked up a lot of artwork online and in libraries. I went back home to Warsaw, Poland for Christmas and had the chance to go to the Museum of Modern Art in to see the exhibition “The Other Trans-Atlantic: Kinetic and Op Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America 1950s – 1970s”. It had a large impact on the collection, especially on my textile development. I was particularly mesmerised and inspired by the work of Carlos Cruz-Diez, Wojciech Fangor and Jerzy Rosołowicz as well.

Another experience that shaped the collection was a virtual reality installation I saw during the Edinburgh Art Festival in 2016 by artist Jess Johnson, entitled “Eclectrc Panoptic”.

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The experience was extremely striking and made a huge impression on me. In my collection I wanted to reference the graphic visuals, colours and the odd atmosphere of the installation.

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I explored a variety of concepts such as hypnosis, mind control, illusions and op art, virtual reality vs the real world, dazzle camouflage, light dispersion and optics.

Where did your initial idea come from?

I began, like most creative with a lot of ideas. A dominant interest of mine was crime. I started collecting and combining all of the themes I was interested in exploring and began building an abstract visual story about a secret agent/detective from the future, solving crimes underwater.

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Has any industry experience influenced your design style/ knowledge? 

I have only ever interned for small, quite commercial womenswear brands back at home in Warsaw, Poland. Although they didn’t necessarily influence the process of creating my graduate collection, but they definitely prepared me for, and gave me a better idea of what working in the industry is like.

What direction has final year inspired you to take with your future career? 

A part of me would really love to do a Masters degree in order to explore my ideas further and see where it could take me: whilst manufacturing my graduate collection I felt like I was only just starting to explore my techniques and their possibilities. I treat my garments more as a collection of initial idea prototypes rather than a finished product.

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For now, I would like to gain more industry experience and find a job as a textile or menswear designer.

I also would love to experiment and work more with innovative, cutting-edge textiles, such as bioengineered fabrics like Bolt Threads’ spider silk.

What fabrics have you used in your looks?

I have used a variety of fabrics and materials: bonding layers together in order to change the fabrics’ properties and obtain the futuristic, sleek look that I was after. The majority of my pieces were laser cut (the stripes) and then bonded onto base fabrics.

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I used a variety of materials: neoprene, scuba, lycra, cottons/coated cottons, various sportswear/technical fabrics/discarded rubber. Most pieces were laser cut and/or digitally printed.

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Why did you choose the fabrics and colour pallet you have?

I used a lot of sportswear/stretchy fabrics, neoprene/scuba were the more obvious choices for making my wetsuits and wetsuit trousers, but also were what I used as a base for my laser cut textile. This was because scuba is quite a thick fabric (2mm-3mm) and I was able to use the depth of the layers of laser cut scuba to create an “illusion” of the fabric changing, and revealing hidden patterns and shapes during movement/depending on what angle you were looking at the pieces from.

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I actually did not look at trend forecasts whilst working on my collection.

I really enjoy working with colour and creating mood boards and colour palettes to represent certain moods and feelings.

During my research and development stages I kept collecting and collaging various colours and shades together, building up a really broad colour palette. I was particularly interested in combining more toned down, “boring” colours traditionally found in menswear and men’s tailoring/office-wear (linking to my secret agent/office uniform/police research and aviation/planes/military wear: shades of silver, grey, a quite cold, monochromatic colour palette), and combining those with very bright, saturated colours inspired by my art/optical illusion research, sportswear, protective uniforms.

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I started collating various colour ideas together and creating colour gradient print ideas from those. Then from that I started thinking more about using the various gradients and colours within the collection: matching them together, drawing quick line-up mock-ups in order to visualise what the collection could look like together and what the colour balance will be.

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Marta Kazmierczak – Menswear, Edinburgh College of Art


Photography credits: Mitchel Sams and Ryan Buchanan

Check out more of our GFW 2018 articles here.

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