Pat Guzik

After finishing her fashion studies, Pat Guzik asked herself what she wanted her own brand to represent. “I knew I always wanted to make something that was about more than just the clothes so I started to educate myself about sustainable fashion.”

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At the start of her career, Pat Guzik reached the finals of the Redress Design Awards which gave her the opportunity to work in Hong Kong and meet other designers who were as excited about sustainability as she was. “It was a life-changing experience and a real eye-opener for me proving that us designers can really shape the future we want.“

During the competition she had the opportunity to visit a factory in Dongguan, China, to see what the typical clothes production process looks like. “That was when I realised that each new, decorative line on my design drawing involves five more processes, more people, and involves the consumption of huge amounts of water and electricity.”

This understanding of how decisions made at the design stage determine what processes will be involved in the production of each garment is at the heart of her work. Today she runs her own brand in Poland, producing garments in cooperation with local producers, small sewing factories and dressmakers. Her brand seeks to reduce waste by using excess textile stock and production leftovers, inviting people to send her their unwanted garments which are upcycled into a ‘reloved’ line, and providing customers with a guide on environmentally smart garment care. The underlying philosophy of her work is that designers are able to make beautiful clothes using waste that are equally, if not more, original and creative, and that while using waste comes with its challenges it also keeps life interesting.

I think the future belongs to circular fashion. Today’s fashion industry is so fast-paced and we’re constantly looking for new things made from new materials. I would love to see upcycled collections as normal lines. I want to be able to finally forget about ‘new season’ collections. Clothes should be more timeless, seasonless. Free of any categorisation. Items that you love to wear and you don't need to buy more. I dream that the fashion sector can educate clients about sustainability, support local producers, suppliers.

Guzik highlights that upcycling is nothing new and that in Poland there is a long-standing-tradition of recycling. “I was brought up to know how to make something out of nothing. Years of war, and then the era of communism taught us that it is possible to recycle everything by ourselves. My grandparents taught me that we need to have respect for people’s work, for physical artifacts. Unfortunately today there is a lack of respect for clothes because we are drowning in oceans of them.”

Today, Pat Guzik certainly has no problem answering her own question about what her brand represents: “I truly believe that fashion is not just about clothes. Fashion is a platform where we can use our voices to talk about sustainable lifestyles, tolerance, diversity, open-mindedness, love.”