Science - December 15, 2005

Environmental fashion design

Two Polish women started a fashion design store, ‘Markoviec’ in the Junusstraat, two weeks ago. One of them, Zuzia Andziak, finished an MSc in Environmental Sciences last September. She convinced her friend, Polish fashion designer Kasia Markowska, to come to the Netherlands and start Markoviec together.

‘We want to stress a sustainable way of designing. We decided to do this in Wageningen because of the opportunities here and the environmental focus of the university,’ says Zuzia. She is sitting at a big table in the back of the store, where all the design work is done. Cotton, silk and other natural fabrics lie organised by colour on shelves against the right-hand wall. On the opposite side, is a long desk with computer screens. The room is an office and atelier in one.

In front is the store itself. Prototypes of clothing are hanging on racks. Clients can then choose the materials, style, colours and other specific adaptations to these prototypes. Zuzia and Kasia focus on the customer, or as they say: the client. ‘In Poland I experienced fashion as mass production. Clothes are first produced, and then put on the market,’ says Kasia. A big portfolio lies in front of her. ‘We do it the other way around. I prefer working with individual people. Products and services are personal. We sit down at the table with the client and discuss what he or she wants.’ The article of clothing that the client orders will be ready within a week. The price for a blouse is likely to range from 90 to 130 euros, depending on how much handwork is involved and on the type of materials used.

Zuzia is the one who has brought in the influence of using environment-friendly fabrics for the clothes. ‘We start off with what we have: the materials. Recycling, reusing and respect for nature are our keywords. From the end of January we will start designing with organic materials. These are fabrics which are produced without using harmful chemicals. It is amazing what kinds of organic materials are available, even pineapple for example.’

The two women started their business with their own savings and financial support from both their parents who think it is a great idea. ‘Our philosophy makes our product unique. We always make only one article of clothing and with respect to nature,’ says Zuzia. / LH

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