Misbhv

Misbhv

Natalia Maczek

Can you tell me a bit about your career? How did you end up with MISBHV?
I can’t say I really ended up with my brand – it’s more something I grew up with. I started customising T-shirts and sweatshirts for myself and my closest friends when I was 19. I used to cut them up, sew them back together, put patches on them and make imaginary band t-shirts. I had no intention of starting a business. It just never occurred to me. I was fresh out of college, starting a law degree, and would spend my summers in London working student jobs, going to concerts, discovering new clubs every weekend and generally enjoying myself. I got accepted into London College of Fashion but decided not to go. MISBHV was growing organically in the meantime, but I never really took it seriously.
How would you describe the MISBHV style?
It’s about challenging the traditional concept of a fashion label. It’s about juxtaposition of the realest youth energy with the refinement of fashion. Please don’t call it “luxury streetwear”, I hate that term. I want to deliver an amazing product for any kid that wants to be a part of what I’m trying to do without feeling guilty about spending his money.
At the same time, offering reasonable prices doesn’t mean compromising on quality. I use Italian lamb leather for all my jackets, I use Portuguese wool for my signature long coats, and I only produce in Poland – which is actually a great country for fashion production. I would never put out a product I would not feel comfortable wearing myself.
What’s happening with SS16?
Summer 2016 is a lot about Bowie and reflecting a certain 70s vibe in a modern silhouette. We presented it in Milan and Paris in June 2015, a long time before he passed away. Let this collection be our tribute to him. He was a hero and inspiration.
Can you explain the androgynous aspect of your brand?
Is it really androgynous? I don’t really see it that way. The MISBHV girl is powerful, she’s strong and independent, and she’s always sexy.
“Two years ago fashion weeks were not for young people. Now each one is getting crazier and crazier, and that energy is very real.” [Misbhv]
You live in Poland. Do you think that influenced your work?
We are based in Warsaw – an amazing city with crazy energy about a four-hour drive from East Berlin, right in the centre of Europe. It’s exactly a three-hour flight from both Paris and Moscow, and it has had a tremendous influence on my work even though I only came to realise it lately. I grew up in the south of Poland in the early 2000s. It was a weird era of hip hop, techno and club culture that was widespread across Europe at the time. It was very big in France, Germany, Russia and Poland, but was slightly different in each country and city. I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia talking, but that mix of grit and grime on one side and looking towards the future and searching for a sense of romance on the other is something that comes out in my work a little bit, I think.
Did you ever consider moving to Paris?
I love Paris. I’ve spent a lot of time here over the last two years to study the fashion and club scenes, and I’ve made a lot of great friends.
To be honest with you, the more I come here the better I feel about it. You can sense there’s a change coming here, the new generation is here to write new rules. You can really feel it. Two years ago fashion weeks were not for young people. Now each one is getting crazier and crazier, and that energy is very real.
I saw you were described as a designer “aiming to break the cycle of imitation in fashion”. What do you think of fashion today?
It’s amazing, but it feels like it needs a shift in energy. It needs real energy brought in by real people, coming from the bottom up.
Do you feel you have to sacrifice your vision to achieve what is commercially expected?
Luckily, I don’t feel anything is really expected from us – and certainly not commercially. I also believe it’s never worth it. If you’re running your own business in a creative field you have to focus on you and only you. And that’s something I could never compromise on.
What are the main difficulties when you decide to do your own brand?
There are loads! And the further you go the more you have to learn. Right now it’s sourcing the best fabrics possible. We’re mostly working with Portuguese, Italian and French producers, and balancing the highest possible quality with reasonable pricing is something we’re really focused on. As I said before, I will never compromise on quality, but I want my clothes to be reasonably priced. I don’t mean cheap – I mean reasonably priced. I don’t see any logic in putting out a €4,000 leather jacket or a €400 t-shirt that only a lawyer or an architect could buy.

Misbhv

Natalia Maczek

Can you tell me a bit about your career? How did you end up with MISBHV?
I can’t say I really ended up with my brand – it’s more something I grew up with. I started customising T-shirts and sweatshirts for myself and my closest friends when I was 19. I used to cut them up, sew them back together, put patches on them and make imaginary band t-shirts. I had no intention of starting a business. It just never occurred to me. I was fresh out of college, starting a law degree, and would spend my summers in London working student jobs, going to concerts, discovering new clubs every weekend and generally enjoying myself. I got accepted into London College of Fashion but decided not to go. MISBHV was growing organically in the meantime, but I never really took it seriously.
How would you describe the MISBHV style?
It’s about challenging the traditional concept of a fashion label. It’s about juxtaposition of the realest youth energy with the refinement of fashion. Please don’t call it “luxury streetwear”, I hate that term. I want to deliver an amazing product for any kid that wants to be a part of what I’m trying to do without feeling guilty about spending his money.
At the same time, offering reasonable prices doesn’t mean compromising on quality. I use Italian lamb leather for all my jackets, I use Portuguese wool for my signature long coats, and I only produce in Poland – which is actually a great country for fashion production. I would never put out a product I would not feel comfortable wearing myself.
What’s happening with SS16?
Summer 2016 is a lot about Bowie and reflecting a certain 70s vibe in a modern silhouette. We presented it in Milan and Paris in June 2015, a long time before he passed away. Let this collection be our tribute to him. He was a hero and inspiration.
Can you explain the androgynous aspect of your brand?
Is it really androgynous? I don’t really see it that way. The MISBHV girl is powerful, she’s strong and independent, and she’s always sexy.
“Two years ago fashion weeks were not for young people. Now each one is getting crazier and crazier, and that energy is very real.” [Misbhv]
You live in Poland. Do you think that influenced your work?
We are based in Warsaw – an amazing city with crazy energy about a four-hour drive from East Berlin, right in the centre of Europe. It’s exactly a three-hour flight from both Paris and Moscow, and it has had a tremendous influence on my work even though I only came to realise it lately. I grew up in the south of Poland in the early 2000s. It was a weird era of hip hop, techno and club culture that was widespread across Europe at the time. It was very big in France, Germany, Russia and Poland, but was slightly different in each country and city. I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia talking, but that mix of grit and grime on one side and looking towards the future and searching for a sense of romance on the other is something that comes out in my work a little bit, I think.
Did you ever consider moving to Paris?
I love Paris. I’ve spent a lot of time here over the last two years to study the fashion and club scenes, and I’ve made a lot of great friends.
To be honest with you, the more I come here the better I feel about it. You can sense there’s a change coming here, the new generation is here to write new rules. You can really feel it. Two years ago fashion weeks were not for young people. Now each one is getting crazier and crazier, and that energy is very real.
I saw you were described as a designer “aiming to break the cycle of imitation in fashion”. What do you think of fashion today?
It’s amazing, but it feels like it needs a shift in energy. It needs real energy brought in by real people, coming from the bottom up.
Do you feel you have to sacrifice your vision to achieve what is commercially expected?
Luckily, I don’t feel anything is really expected from us – and certainly not commercially. I also believe it’s never worth it. If you’re running your own business in a creative field you have to focus on you and only you. And that’s something I could never compromise on.
What are the main difficulties when you decide to do your own brand?
There are loads! And the further you go the more you have to learn. Right now it’s sourcing the best fabrics possible. We’re mostly working with Portuguese, Italian and French producers, and balancing the highest possible quality with reasonable pricing is something we’re really focused on. As I said before, I will never compromise on quality, but I want my clothes to be reasonably priced. I don’t mean cheap – I mean reasonably priced. I don’t see any logic in putting out a €4,000 leather jacket or a €400 t-shirt that only a lawyer or an architect could buy.