Eastern and central Europe in the post-communist era holds still holds a fascination for the world. If the particular kind of tension of the Cold War moves further away with each new generation, then neither the original ‘westerners’ nor their children seem to be able to let go of the idea that these regions remain rich and fertile markets waiting to be exploited.
Code, the magazine based in a particularly Dutch tradition of documenting and framing scenes and social phenomena rather than claiming credit for their invention or ‘discovery’, includes a feature in its current issue that engages with the topic in a typically neutral tone.
In the feature ‘From Lodz to Warsaw’, Code provides a characteristically direct portrait of the blossoming fashion scene in contemporary Poland. Taking on the form of a series of portraits by Amit Berlowitz, styled by Valeria Siniouchkina ( do we detect a Girls from Omsk connection?), the article effectively provides a snapshot of the new generation of movers and shakers on Poland’s rapidly evolving fashion scene.
It is accompanied by an interview with Mikolaj Komar, editor of KMAG and all round Polish fashion entrepreneur and creative. As one of the generation old enough to remember –or at least claiming to do so- the transition from socialist state to free economy, Komar’s responses give a very specific angle on a very particular generation of creatives caught up in momentous social change. His musings on Lodz, an artistic hotspot and home to Polish Fashion Week, and insider advice on Warsaw, the country’s fashion capital, no doubt, prove stimulating reading for the fashion fanatic eager to discover interesting fashion wherever it may lurk.
But, more importantly – and typical of Code’s approach- they provide a document of a particular moment in time. Perhaps Poland will go on to greater things and become one of the anticipated bonanza fashion economies of mainland Europe in its transition from central state control to the kind of compromise Utopia offered by the European Union. On the other hand, it might sink without a trace, an also-ran in the creative economy of a capitalist globalism in overdrive, still too expectant of quality of life to compete with competitors in Asia and Latin America. Regardless of the outcome, articles such as this one might prove valuable to future historians in mapping out a very specific moment in European culture. Even without veering towards hyperbole, this offering by Code offers stimulating food for thought to anyone who is interested in fashion as something beyond gushing journalism and small talk; as a phenomenon deeply engrained in all social fabrics that can tell us something about the societies in which we live.