Fashion & Style interviews

Explore Erwin Michalec’s wearable art

I’m so much inspired by many forms of art but this kind of art on different wearable fabrics has got me excited than usual. Just like any other great art, Erwin Michalec’s work on fabrics will make you catch that feeling you get when you fall for someone romantically. Such a sweet feeling, Isn’t it?

Models wearing Erwin Michalec's work

As my way of appreciating his work, here is an article detailing how Erwin Michalec makes art wearable and interesting. After reading this article, you will have more things in life to appreciate.

 

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Erwin Michalec

Born in Poland and currently living in London, Erwin Michalec has created a whole new set of designs on clothes based on ethnic influences. He presents plain silhouettes of African tribal drawings on different fabrics. His work has been recently published in the British Vogue (February 2016 Issue) and has got many people talking only of great things about his work.

His allure of Haitian Voodoo and inspiration from Caribbean and African Cultures has influenced him to hand paint amazing ethnic art on several clothes.

“All my ideas are made of combining ancient mechanism with African culture. I like making my art as weird as possible” Said Erwin when I asked him to briefly describe his work.

 

Erwin Michalec’s signature look


“I use a lot of colour to speak all languages. If you take a closer look, language of colours is universal and understandable to everybody and is beautified when I interpret ethnicity and diversity of the world into art.” He says

Erwin loves references of the four elements of western culture, especially water and if you take a closer look, one of these elements wouldn’t miss out on any of his designs.

Model Sandra wearing Erwin Michalec Design

“Someone described my art as religious primitivism. I like symbols, mythology and I like searching this subject.” Says Erwin Michalec

 

How it all started


Erwin Michalec has always been charmed by adventurous stories ever since he was a little boy. With this came an interest in continents such as Africa which he says is his favourite along with South America and Colombian civilisation. Impressively he has never been to any of these places that inspire him. Hopefully he will be, someday soon.

Model showcasing Erwin Michalec's work 2

Throughout his childhood and early 20’s, Erwin never thought of being a fashion designer. He was just an artist. He says that its a pure coincidence and more evolution of his lifestyle with reaction from reality that he faced which led him to this moment.

The transition of Erwin turning from just an ordinary artist into a fashion designer started when he and his artist friend, Aneta Srodon created a small art collective in 2011. Their idea was to promote art of members during experimental art events through art exhibitions, live music and un-wearable experimental fashion.

At this point, Erwin and his friend didn’t know anyone in the fashion industry, so for his first fashion show, Erwin showcased his own collection instead of anyone else’s. This was a great move in his career.

Even when he was showcasing, it never crossed his mind that he would be a fashion designer because all he wanted at that moment was to be a host and promoter for other peoples work.

Model showcasing Erwin Michalec's work

 

Time came when he gave up on being an organizer but his heart was still stuck in fashion so he continued painting on fabrics despite of the change in interest.

 

The Design Process


Erwin Michalec at work
Erwin Michalec at work

Erwin’s design process is flexible. He is always on a move with new ideas and is not fixed to one method.Incredibly enough, he doesn’t use any digital processing throughout his designing process. he hand paints all his designs.

“I just paint my ideas. I don’t have any specific design processes because I always change my technics depending on my current interest. I also like experimenting and I am not attached to only one design style.”

He added by saying ” I’m very insensitive to suggestions or advice concerning my designs because I trust my instincts so much.I try to be different even if my outfits look better on the runway as an artistic experiment than casual everyday clothes.”

His designs have managed to stand out from the rest because he has always painted and showcased his work for his eccentric fun.

Model showcasing Erwin Michalec's work 3

When it comes to designing his clothes, women always come first to Erwin because he loves them so much. Am glad we have that in common.

Erwin transforms any cloth that is easy to paint on and also paints on clothes that he has sewed himself. That’s whysomeofhis clothes look very simple.

You would know a classic Erwin Michalec design by seeing women with towns as a hat, women with arms as trees, African tribal drawings or other ethnic art on wearable materials.

Model showcasing Erwin Michalec's design

 

 

Achievements.


In 2013, Erwin Michalec managed to win an FDC Radical Designer award for being in second place which later opened doors for him to showcase at Vancouver Fashion Week. He achieved more when he showcased some of his work at Africa Fashion Week, London 2014, which was more adventurous for him. Throughout this event, he was able to support his work to greater heights. Later came more achievements including his greatest showcase in Fashion Scout February 2015. This is actually when he started calling himself a fashion designer.

Erwin Michalec Africa Fashion Week, London 2014
Erwin at Africa Fashion Week, London 2014.

He also had a charity event called The Great Orchestra of Christmas charity in 2013.

One of his many great achievements in his personal career was exhibiting his hand painted dresses in Naples, Italy supported by international organization called NICOLA during the international music project Musical connection.

Models displaying Erwin Michalec's designs

The most challenging moment that Erwin Michalec has faced in the fashion industry was when he received an e-mail from a Fashion Scout informing him that he was selected to present his collection to the judging panel for a Merit Award- one of the most desired award in UK’s fashion industry.

“I knew I would not get this award, but I was happy that somehow I was considered as equal to talented graduates of the best fashion universities. This moment kicked me hard when I didn’t win but it shaped my understanding of the fashion industry. This motivated me to work more even if I was facing real difficulty.” Says Erwin.

Erwin’s favourite place in the world is the Tenerife with its dragon trees, which inspired him to a new collection and series of graphics. To him its an Ideal place to escape forever.

Erwin Michalec's design inspired by the Tenerife
Erwin Michalec’s design inspired by the Tenerife

 

Advice from Erwin Michalec


Never listen to the experts because we are a generation of dynamic changes in a very unstable world.

Erwin’s favourite quote: Imagination wins the war. – Julius Caesar

 

You can get in touch with Erwin through:


His website:www.erwinmichalec.com

Facebook: Erwin Michalec

Or type Erwin Michalec on Google and get to see all his media channels.


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About the author

Kelvin

Kelvin Ngabo is a fashion writer, entrepreneur, IT expert and model manager based in Kampala, Uganda. He is also a professional web designer and online marketing consultant . The urge to be successful is what keeps him motivated.

About Author

Kelvin

Kelvin Ngabo is a fashion writer, entrepreneur, IT expert and model manager based in Kampala, Uganda. He is also a professional web designer and online marketing consultant . The urge to be successful is what keeps him motivated.