Pan tu nie stał, a clothing brand established in 2006 by Justyna Burzyńska and Maciej Lebiedowicz, has had a wondrous run in the last few years on Polish market and in Polish streets. Even though the masterminds behind the brand are not graphic designers, by intelligently playing with nostalgia, they managed to change old, obscure word, items, and designs into objects that every contemporary consumer desires.
Pan tu nie stał was founded in Łódź, and it’s place of origin is often emphasized in their projects, which are frequently inspired by the city, or the way clothes used to be produced in the manufactures of Łódź. The idea to get back to the style of 1960s, 70s and 80s also stems from Łódź, and to be more exact – from walks that Lebiedowicz often took on Rynek Bałucki, among its forgotten treasures. There he developed his passion for collecting various old labels, which he later photographed and posted on his blog. The idea to set up a shop was kind of a follow-up to this hobby. The first T-shirts were produced by Lebiedowicz himself, using quite a dated technique of screen printing. The first store opened, understandably in Łódź, in 2009. Today, the store in Łódź has a new HQ in a post-industrial building, two more stores were also opened, one in Warsaw on Koszykowa street, one in Hotel Forum in Kraków. Although the brand is undoubtedly commercially successful, the founder stresses out its hobbyist origin, and sees his company more as a realisation of dreams, rather that tiresome string of plans, accounting, because, as he explains:
Our company is not this serious establishment with quarterly management plans, annual goals, or other things like that. We fare better or worse, but ultimately we want to create things that people like and want to wear, and things that are, at least to a certain extent, timeless. We always ask ourselves whether our new T-shirt won’t be an embarrassment for us. If we see that something doesn’t work out well, we do not release it – creating and selling rubbish is not what we aim at.
Their bottomless well of inspiration is, as they freely admit, Polish language. They often take intriguing, obscure words – dziadostwo (dreck), absztyfikant (admirer), lowelas (playbay) – syllabize them and create witty and aesthetic word play. Their fascination with language straight from sanatorium shift is visible even in the smallest details of their products, for example their labels are decorated with slogans, such as 'For the healthy and the sick'. Even though they started off creating T-shirts, and T-shirts are still their main domain, the selection of products gets broader with each passing year. They offer other pieces of clothing, such as socks, underwear, and belts, but also notebooks and office goods, table setting with characteristic mugs, resembling good ol’ grandma jugs. They also offer interesting book projects. Siała baba mak, designed by Katarzyna Bogucka in a minimalistic manner, with simple colour pallet of white, black, and red, was awarded Must Have title on Design Festival in Łódź. Two years after that, yet another product of Pan tu nie stał received the same award. This time it was their labels for homemade preserves, such as 'Yummy pickles', or 'Forest shrooms', which could be glued onto self-made produce. Lebiedowicz commented on these, saying:
Even though we introduce various new products, which meet with rather enthusiastic reactions on social media, still our most popular products are the classics – T-shirts with short texts on them: 'Dreck', 'Miss of the shift', 'Shrew', 'Meat, poultry, cold cuts' – most often in the simplest, grey or black colour.
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