Joanna Hawrot has been a designer since 2008. It all started when she made a costume for a performance as part of an artistic event. For Joanna, who was just starting out, it was a form of aesthetic expression. At the time she was active in the artistic Kraków bohemia, immersed in their tastes and inclination for retro and gothic styles and surrealism.
Although she shifted from costume design into the world of fashion design, a theatrical approach is still evident in her style. Nowadays though, she uses it to present her clothes, not in the actual design themselves. In her work, she puts a great emphasis on minimalism, comfort, and oriental inspirations, especially Japanese. As she herself states, her philosophy is ‘from fashion to art’ and she is convinced that it is possible to mix formal experimentation with the everyday comfort of a product. In her opinion, traditional Asian clothes align nicely with this concept, as until not so long ago they were still worn on a day-to-day basis.
Joanna often collaborates with various artists dealing with the visual arts – illustrators, painters, performers. She also creates original artistic projects and events. She has participated in the Kraków Theatre Reminiscences, and the Photomonth in Kraków. She co-created a multimedia project in Kraków's Cricoteca, in addition to presenting a collection in the form of a performance in a shopping mall. As part of the ‘Ash project’, she combined fashion design with sculpture and music; in the ‘Słowa mówią’ (Words speak) project she combined it with literature; and in the performative action ‘Forma’, she asked about gender. She wants fashion to be perceived as a form of modern art, to place it in that context and search for the key to it in that realm.
She has been working in Kraków for years now – she has a boutique near the Main Market Square on St. Mark’s street. Recently, she has been making her way to Warsaw. She won the award for fashion designer of the year in 2014 in a competition organized by the HUSH Warsaw fair under the auspices of Martini and had her own fashion show as the prize. At the beginning of 2015, her show presenting the spring/summer collection took place in the Palace of Culture and Science.
The main inspiration for the 2015 spring/summer collection were four gemstone colours – red, black, white and green rubies, onyx, crystal, and emerald. The silk wraps itself around the models like smoke.
This collection is one of many that Hawrot has prepared. Her distinctive style – a mixture of minimalism and oriental inspirations – was visible for the first time in her Ashita collection from 2011. Bold colours, on the other hand appeared for the first time in her SPACE collection in 2013. That was the first time Joanna decided to use bold monochromatic compositions made up of raspberry, orange and cobalt, inspired by colour field painting, full of contrasting compositions, strong outlines, and geometric forms. The idea was to create a collection that gives you the opportunity to combine its elements in numerous different ways, yet still simple enough that each project has a separate look – similar to a kimono, so that the design's simplicity gives you the impression of a perfectly refined whole. Apart from dresses and tunics, kimonos were the foundation of the collection. Colourful, filled with bohemian-style prints as well as floral and geometric motifs. The kimono is Joanna’s greatest inspiration.
Author: Karolina Sulej, July 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska