Luiza Jacob's label Dream Nation received the Designer of the Year 2014 title at the independent fashion fair HUSH Warsaw. This was yet another shot in the arm for a designer who has faith in Poles' willingness to dress comfortable, joyfully, and eco-consciously.
Before founding Dream Nation, Luiza worked as a shop manager for one of the clothing giants. She felt unable to leave that job for a long time – it paid well, and she felt appreciated. She was forced to make some changes due to an unexpected pregnancy. Along with the little boy inside her grew Luiza's aversion to her cosy life and the privileged CEOs of clothing companies.
She took an express self-taught course in ecology, sustainable fashion, ethics, minimal wages, and quality certification. While browsing the web, she learnt about the wave of retroaction towards the fashion concerns that was flooding the world. She also found out that a whole range of organic fabrics and artificial eco-friendly fibres was available for creators of alternative fashion. These producers opposed the so-called fast fashion – poor quality, low-cost McDonald's-like products, and with no respect for work ethics. Hence the name slow fashion, which described the alternative fashion current, valuing the workers' input, trade skills, local production and distribution, and lack of toxic chemicals interfering with the process of clothes manufacture. Luiza decided to launch a label that would follow these principles. She also knew from the very beginning that her clothes would simply have to be pretty – she wanted the customers to purchase her clothes for their attractiveness, and appreciate their sustainable qualities after.
First came the leggings. As it turned out, no one else in Poland her had come up with the idea of producing colourful, breathable, and comfortable leggings. In order to realize this idea, Luiza travelled all the way to Shanghai, where she found a factory that would digitally print her fabrics. Digital printing was her only available solution – she wanted to create rich patterns, and such a method did not require costly stencils. These days, she has the prints made in a factory outside of Łódź called Biliński Textile Print. The first fabrics Luiza used were made out of bamboo; now she leans towards cotton sourced from Turkish manufacturers. Already in her student days at the Łódź Academy of Fine Arts, she was aware that when it came to fashion design, she was most excited about colours and geometry: strong outlines, filled with colours, just like a Paint drawing.
The first collection released by Dream Nation was titled Caapi, after a type of jungle vine which grows in the Amazon rainforest, the main ingredient of the hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca. The collection was supposed to resemble such a psychedelic vision. It was mainly based on photographs – namely, photographs of blocks of flats and clouds taken in Bródno, which is perceived as a second-class district of Warsaw. After the geometric madness – scattered squares, triangles and checkers – came jumpers, wrap dresses, and leggings covered in blocks and cumulus clouds.
Luiza doesn't attend celebrity events, and she is not very keen on the fashion world. She believes that she doesn't need to chase fame – good design will stand for itself. She doesn't try to suck up any stars – if anyone would like to wear her designs, they should contact her. What she cares most about is that Dream Nation is worn by girls like her – whom she describes, with a smile on her face – as “urban individualists". These are the girls who put their sneakers on and bike around the city, rather than walk the red carpet in high heels.
I design for people who maintain a healthy perspective and a sense of humour – street fashion should be fun.
Author: Karolina Sulej, transl. Ania Micińska, May 2015