ZUO Corp. was founded by Bartek Michalec, a stylist with his colleague Dagmara Rosa. ZUO – because ‘Zło’ (Evil) is what Dagmara often called her wayward dog. Corp – from body or corporation. The duo was soon joined by Łukasz Laskowski, who took care of public relations and the business side of things.
Fashion brand founded by Bartek Michalec and Dagmara Rosa.
In 2001, there was an odd looking venue upholstered all over with black fabric on Bracka street. It was created by combining two office containers with the dimensions 465 x 560,5 x 231 cm together. All of the edges were accentuated with LED strips, that were also the only source of light. These shining lines were then duplicated in the mirror’s reflections giving the impression of an endless space.
That was how ZUO Corp. announced their debut in the fashion industry in Poland. Inside the cubic structure they had a mini-boutique with their first collection, displayed amongst lights and mirrors. That pop-up shop then travelled from Warsaw all over Poland. ZUO Corp. was founded by Bartek Michalec, a stylist with his colleague Dagmara Rosa. ZUO – because ‘Zło’ (Evil) is what Dagmara often called her wayward dog. Corp – from body or corporation. The duo was soon joined by Łukasz Laskowski, who took care of public relations and the business side of things.
After three months, ZUO Corp. closed the pop-up shop. A few months later, they showed their collection on the runway during Fashion Week Poland. At the end of the year Dagmara left the brand to do her own thing. The division of roles remained the same. Łukasz is still in charge of ZUO Corp.’s PR and image and Bartek is responsible for the clothes: construct, design, choice of fabric etc.
In 2012, they gained publicity in lifestyle magazines and received the Fashion Perfection award from Twój Styl for their collection Jungle Gardenia, inspired by the famous American perfume from the 1930s’ of the same name. The momentum of the collection turned out to be much like that of the project from the previous century – labour-intensive, expensive tailoring with great attention to detail. The clothes had been sown from exclusive materials, such as pressed silk and fleshy jacquards. The cerulean dress with rhomb shaped like fringes is a faithful reproduction of the model from the 20s’. The most spectacular though was the last gown at the show. Hand embroidered pressed silk, with gold detailing – the dress was valued at 35 thousand złoty. The dress and coat shapes, the arrangement of details – that was modern and clear-cut like Balenciaga.
The models, stood on illuminated platforms instead of walking the runway and guests would circle around them. The show also had an albino peacock in a cage. It was hard not to understand it’s presence as a metaphor for fashion – capturing unique beauty only to lock it in a cage of freak shows and show business.
fashion week poland
2014 introduced a lot of changes. The designers opened up their own boutique on Chmielna street in the Jabłkowski townhouse. They separated the brand into three clothing lines and added ‘+’. ZUO Corp.+ is the black line – the most daring, designer, consisting of the highest quality materials, from jeans to down jackets, knitwear, blazers, appropriately expensive jewellery, small leather haberdashery pieces, shoes: boots, stilettos, low shoes for men. This clothing line is both for men and women. The white line – the cheapest, is for the youngest customers, the pink – especially for women. In it we will find: conservative high quality pieces, elegant with a light twist, designer but very conventional pieces for women, who like comfortable clothing, work at high position jobs in corporations, don’t experiment with fashion yet have an interest in it. The designs for men (along with undergarments) – are ZUO’s most treasured pieces. Bartek and Łukasz believe, Polish men don’t have a place to shop for good quality and original clothing at an affordable price.
In March 2015, they summed up their five year activity with another fashion – architectonic installation. In the Warsaw concept store, Pies czy Suka, ZUO Corp. in collaboration with Play presented the dress of the future - that was enclosed in a small cube like space in a hexagonal form, covered with mirror foil from the inside.
The dress was created with the use of modern high-tech, hand-made fabric that came from a Swiss manufactory. The material brings to mind a light, flexible one-way mirror. This effect was achieved by merging metallic threads together.
Author:Karolina Sulej, August 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska, August 2015