Interview: Natalia Skrzypek
Luca Curci talks with Natalia Skrzypek, winner of the Honorable Mention of the ITSLIQUID CONTEST 8TH EDITION 2021.
I think that good design should be a reaction to human needs. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – A German-born American architect – once said – “less is more” about an architectural composition. Most of us have heard this sentence at least once in our lives. I can’t help but wonder, could we apply this statement while thinking about our wardrobes? My answer is yes. But at the same time, I know that people call for more awareness. In the context of clothing, let’s consider what a person needs? My goal is to bring more consciousness about the possibilities of the recycling circle in the fashion industry. Reusing fibers need to be taken into account from the designing phase. Thinking about the product, I focus on natural biodegradable textiles and those that come from recycling. All of them need to be entirely recyclable. As a designer, I try to produce fully sustainable, good-quality clothes. I hope that soon we will live in a world where the textile industry fully works in a closed and ecological cycle. What is natural is biodegradable. What is synthetic should be recycled. Environmental issues should be the most important problem to solve for every designer.
Luca Curci – What’s your background?
Natalia Skrzypek – I was born in 1989 in Warsaw, Poland. As far as I know, I was very creative from the beginning. My mum said that I was drawing almost all the time – since I could hold crayons in my hand. I was not sure about whom I wanted to become till high school. One thing that mattered for me was the strong creating need. Beginning, I chose the International School of Costume & Fashion Design (2008-2011). After graduation, I have got an opportunity to work as an intern in the atelier of our polish well-known fashion designer – Maciej Zień. That was a big lesson about how to work with luxurious product customers. Also, I got some great pattern tips from talented dressmakers. Later on, I felt that additionally, I want to explore industrial design. That is why I applied to the Industrial Design course at Warsaw Fine Arts Academy (2011-2016), where I gained a Bachelor’s degree. Between 2013 and 2014, I had the chance to spend one semester at Politecnico di Milano. That experience gave me a deeper perspective as a designer. In the meantime, I was a part of a fantastic team creating the Rio 2016 Olympic collection. There I found myself as a textile graphic designer, which I’m continuing till today. Wanting to complete my professional education, I selected Strzemiński Academy of Art in Łódź (2017-2021). Last year I gained a Master’s Diploma in Textile Printing. I am still living and designing in Warsaw.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced you the most?
NS – That’s a good question. I think that there is more than one experience. For sure, traveling is influencing my work because I’m always looking for inspiration from nature. Most of the time, my journeys are a moment to take a deep breath, rest, and think. But there were times when I had to go on a work trip two or three times a year. After my first trip to Bangladesh and India, I realized how many problems we have to face in the fashion industry. That experience gave me a heavy kick to do something about it. I know that problem is global. Currently, the world uses around 150 billion clothing items annually, four times more than 20 years ago. That represents an average increase of over 60 per cent for every citizen of the planet. Every second in the world, a truck full of garments ends up in the garbage, which at least in part could be recycled. Conscious design should now keep in mind that we already overdose the number of produced clothes.
LC – What are your thoughts while you create?
NS – It depends on what I’m designing at the moment. Most of the time I just listen to music and go with the flow.
LC – Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
NS – Never start before good breakfast. And then, while designing, I try to detach a little from the real world. I put my headphones on and listen to the music that inspires me at the moment. It allows me to quiet my mind and focus more on the things that I want to create. Sometimes, when I’m looking for a solution to a more complex problem, I need silence. I’m finding a quiet space, sitting on a couch or armchair, closing my eyes and thinking, until the idea comes to my mind.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
NS – Probably I will say nothing new, but I indeed find my inspiration in nature. I try to go outside of the city as much as I can. I love to go to the seaside and watch moves of the water. Some waves can make surprisingly beautiful effects on the sand. Also, observing people on the streets can be interesting. What do they wear? Where do they go? I’m trying to reflect all of that in my works. Mixing city vibes with nature sometimes brings revealing effects in art.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
NS – In my case, the hardest thing is to get to work and bring the idea to life. Finding the exact materials that will match my message can be challenging. With paintings, it’s easier. But when it comes to clothes, I need to be careful in selecting textiles. Fabrics need to be certified. For conscious customers, it is proof of my ecoawareness.
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
NS – I think the style in my designs is something constant. What has changed is my design skills and my approach to design. It probably comes with age and experience. When we evolve over the years, we get to know the surrounding world in full context. Thanks to this, I can design more consciously. Respond to social and product needs. For me, a crucial change in design thinking was the present everywhere ecology and the desire to protect our planet from total litter. I already learned this approach during my design studies. The product should not have only a form. But also a function resulting from the need. Anyway, I think we still suffer from a lack of understanding of the essence of the problem with waste. Littering our planet among the general public opinion in Poland is not well known. Or maybe it is known, but not many people care. That is why I want to create durable, pragmatic, and unique products. Inspired by nature, sport, and the elements, I present a story that hopefully interests a wider group of clients.
LC – What are you currently working on?
NS – Currently, I am working on my fashion brand and design company called Ecoist Studio. I decided to turn my ideas into action. My first spring/summer collection is coming out in a couple of months. By that time, I need to build the Ecoist Studio website, social media account’s and whatever is needed for a good start. It is a lot of work for one person, but I hope that this brand will bring more awareness to citizens of Poland about fashion eco-products and the recycling of clothes.