DISCOVER: Bozena Jankowska
"Doing a few things, but doing them well" - Bozena Jankowska
What inspired you to launch your brand?
It was the desire to create beautiful, high quality fashion which challenged the unsustainable, entrenched, and wasteful model of the fashion industry. It was the desire to work towards creating a brand which is mindful in what it does and how it does it.
Where there is no compromise on craftsmanship or choice of materials, where mass production is shunned and there is a focus on doing a few things but doing them well.
What do you love most about your work?
The creativity! I have a combined love for fashion, art and craftsmanship which I combine into my collections. You can see elements of that in my collection pieces, such as the manuka feather print which I designed by hand and used for the Silk Manuka Trouser Suit. It is one of our most popular styles. More recently, I expanded into more causal and relaxed pieces such as our organic cotton t-shirts and jumpers all of which feature my own art which I draw by hand and then digitise printing in an environmentally friendly way onto the garments.
Then there are the hand embroidered trousers, where both the art and the embroidery are done my be, by hand! So, each pair of trousers is pretty much unique and individual to the wearer.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere! Nature, fashion, art, interior design, the list is endless. There is inspiration all around us! Sustainability is also a strong inspiration especially when it comes to material selection. That is why I always look to source materials (fabrics and buttons especially) that are either end of line, vintage or made from sustainable fabrics such as organic cotton.
Often the materials I source are available in limited quantities, which is what I like, because that ensures I use them carefully but also for the customer it means they are getting something that is not mass produced and is pretty much unique.
What brings you joy besides your work?
Creativity. Making things. I find it hard to sit still for long. I always need to be doing or making something with my hands.
I love to draw and paint. I have painted pieces for our home and also love sketching fashion illustration which I turn into beautiful giclee prints which I make available through Bozena Allison Studio.
How did COVID-19 impact your work?
COVID-19 has been a tough time for everyone. Its terrible to see the impact it has had on the world and how it has turned things upside down. Everyone has had to adapt in some way and I am no exception. I have continued to design and create art behind the scenes, but it has made me do things even more slowly, thinking carefully what my customers need right now and how I might be able to meet their needs.
Not being able to do pop-ups is perhaps the biggest impact as that is such a wonderful way for my customers to see and try on my products up close and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making them. That is more difficult to do online so I had to think how I could make the shopping experience less scary online by offering live chat to customers and offering an even more exceptional and personal customers service.
What advice do you have for other brands who can't work as normal right now?
This is a great time to take stock and review your business to ensure that you continue to remain relevant and identify areas where you will need to pivot. Being flexible and adaptable is key whilst remaining true to your brand and your customer base. Use the time to brush up on skills that can help your business.
Tell us about a small business you like and needs a little love right now.
There are a few, behind which sit wonderful women! Geraldine London is one a wonderful example of how to pivot during difficult times! Stacy Chan a UK small bag brand with a very distinctive aesthetic as well as Jeanne Chavany, a French small bag brand which focuses strongly on provenance and quality. Adrianna Chede a jewellery designer with a focus on sustainability producing delicate, timeless pieces using recycled gold.
Find out more on Bozena Jankowska's website: https://www.bozenajankowska.com/