The history of Polish fashion is the history of Polish culture. Reason & Flair shows not only the refined taste of fashion designers, but also the resourcefulness of designers and Polish women themselves. Over the years, Polish fashion has been an expression of longing for the West, and a manifestation of freedom and originality.
Barbara Krzeska, Deputy Director of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Each chapter in the album is devoted to a different decade in the history of Polish fashion. The authors begin with the joyful period after Poland regained its independence in 1918, a moment of great hope and expectation. At that time, designs referenced the best patterns of France and Italy. World War II made fashion a bit less important, although it continued to enter into a dialogue with the surrounding reality.
After the end of the war in 1945, Polish fashion was subordinated to ideology. The 1960s and 1970s brought more freedom – this was when the state-owned enterprise Moda Polska was established under the supervision of Jadwiga Grabowska, whose projects aroused admiration in Western Europe. The 1980s brought great changes. It was a time of subcultures, the first rock festivals, and overt opposition to the communist regime.
Nowadays, the current generation of Polish fashion designers do not want to imitate the achievements of others, but to create their own history, based on a rich tradition. Poland has a chance to be in the avant-garde and, thanks to its experience, become a point of reference.
This album is not only a description of the Polish sector or industry, but also the many aspects of fashion: artistic, everyday, cultural and social. I am convinced that certain stories and collective experiences can only be accessed through fashion, and that such a lens will bring us closer to understanding the history of a given country, even those for whom its fate is exotic.
Karolina Sulej, writer and editor of the book