Paradise Is An Island, So Is Hell.
“Many islands lie so far from their mother countries that they no longer fit on the maps of that country. They are mostly left out altogether, but sometimes they are granted a place at a cartographical side table, hemmed in by a framed box with a separate scale measure squashed at the edge, but with no information about where they are. They become footnotes to the mainland, expendable to an extent, but also disproportionately more interesting”.
Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands
We begin our journey. We are on an island in the Arabian Sea, in the tropical climate zone. During the wet season, the average temperature here reaches around 30 degrees Celsius.
We are at a gate, which once used to be the most important monument in the city, now overgrown with wild vegetation. Emerging from the thicket are towers and a curvilinear truss, sculpted in yellow basalt. Behind the arch of the gate there are stairs leading to water. The first thing that catches the eye is a bay and a port, from which you can sail to another remote island.
Neighbouring the port, a district shrouded in fog sees indigo-coloured* dogs running unhurriedly around, hiding among dense clouds and emerging from them. That part of the island, veiled in darkness, offers shelter from the heat. Yet, the price for shelter is high – it is contaminated with indigo, the most fashionable colour this season. Cooling themselves in the water, the dogs stretch, yawn, wake up to life. Waves crash fiercely against the shore, tinting everything blue.
Here lies the island, the other end of our known world, where the moon does not care for barking dogs.
Continuing our journey traced with a finger on the map, we proceed between the zones of humid continental climate and tropical monsoon climate. We gather experience, inspiration, we discover our own selves. We approach a place that has no real location, but offers the possibility to replace the backdrop of events with any image that comes to our minds.
In this space, tapping into the green screen technique, we encounter an everyday life in which clothes are a vehicle of stories and sensations. Without moving compulsively around, we reach the real essence of our journey. We moor alongside all the sad unwanted clothes that deliberately refuse to be in vogue.
The place we have reached is seemingly situated in the centre. Yet, as we stay here for longer, we feel as if it was on the peripheries – excluded from ongoing participation. Here, there is no need to ask: do you fit? You are in a safe space, free from judgement. Clothes jumbled together lie on a bright concrete floor; mixed and thrown off the hangers. Blue Dogs run among them. They tell us their unbelievable truths, they brush against us, losing their hair.
Pat Guzik alongside Tomek Armada take us on a journey to an unknown land.
Far away from one another, they hold a several-month-long conversation. They exchange experience and reflection, while contesting the textile industry.
Conversations beyond the time zone, sewn with 8391** kinds of stitches.
This is what you can feel while visiting a space tailor-made for our times.
P.S. I’m also going through a helter-skelter of a time and I need to take it slow and think about it all.
* Eleven blue dogs were running around the streets of one of India’s largest cities for a few days. The situation was due to water and air pollution. See: “Indian blue dogs blamed on river pollution”, ODN News,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHeCtXL9F9c (August 17, 2017).
** Distance between Hong Kong and Łódź.
Geographic coordinates: 18°50'00.0"N, 72°50'00.0"E
Geographic coordinates: 22°17'07.0"N, 114°09’27.0"E
Geographic coordinates: 51°47'00.0"N 19°28’00.0"E
Pat Guzik, b. 1986, lives and works in Cracow. Graduate in philosophy from the Pedagogical University of Cracow and in fashion design and pattern making from the Cracow School of Art and Fashion Design. Her diploma collection was awarded a half-year scholarship at the Escuela de Formación Gremio Artesano de Sastres y Modistas in Valencia, where Guzik, supervised by haute couture masters, studied hand-sewing techniques and male and female couture pattern making.
In 2010, Guzik was a special guest of a Hannover fashion show upon an invitation from Hannover’s Akademie für Mode und Design FAHMODA; finalist of the competition Habitus Baltija (Riga, 2010); winner of the competition “Folk and the City”, organised by the Association for the Museum of Fashion and Textiles (Białystok, 2012); finalist of the competition and participant of the workshop run by Krzysztof Stróżyna within the Art & Fashion Stary Browar by Grażyna Kulczyk (2014); finalist of the competition “Gombold újra” during the Central European Fashion Days (Budapest, 2016); winner of the first prize and the special award in the competition Eco Chic Design Award Hong Kong, organised by Redress Asia, and the special prize awarded by Janet Ma (2016). In 2016, Guzik showed her collection during Hong Kong Fashion Week; she worked on her auteur upcycling capsule-collection for the Shanghai Tang brand (Hong Kong, 2017); winner of The Eluxe Awards 2017 (Sustainable Luxury Awards) during Green Fashion Week in Los Angeles in the category Best Formal/Couture Fashion Label. In 2018, Guzik received the Creative Scholarship of the City of Cracow; the same year, in collaboration with Culture.pl (Adam Mickiewicz Institute), she showed her collection during the Centre Stage Asia’s Fashion Spotlight in Hong Kong. In 2018, in collaboration with Justyna Górowska and the Razem Pamoja Foundation, she created the performance and exhibition What The Eye Doesn’t See, The Heart Doesn’t Grieve; the same year, she created the Sustainable POP UP SHOP in collaboration with the Razem Pamoja Foundation gallery. In 2019, Guzik presented her collection during Vancouver Fashion Week, where she received the award for the best collection designed and produced according to sustainable fashion principles, awarded by the NGO Redress Asia.
She currently runs the Pat Guzik brand. She designs, constructs and produces garments according to the idea of sustainable fashion. She combines Asian and European inspirations within her sustainable streetwear with high fashion elements. Guzik collaborates with the illustrator Mateusz Kołek, the artist behind the textile prints. Pat Guzik garments are produced in Poland using textiles by Polish manufacturers, in collaboration with local producers. Lecturer at the Fashion Design Department at the Chongqing Technology and Business University, where her students are trained in sustainable fashion design and collection concept development.
Tomasz Armada, b. 1994 in Końskie, visual artist and designer, member of the artistic group Fashion House Limanka. Armada seeks critical potential in fashion and brings fashion closer to art. His work blurs gender and aesthetics patterns, stereotypes and schemes as well as the division between low-brow and high-brow art. Borrowing inspiration from local aesthetics, folk and historical attires (Sarmatism), he offers an exaggerated depiction of Polish aesthetics. Armada plays with stereotypes and xenophobic fears. He single-handedly creates upcycled fashions as local counterparts of haute couture, which abound in prints, patterns, textiles, knits, patchworks and experimental structures of his own design. Holder of a diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź (2017). Participant of numerous exhibitions; his works have been presented at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, Museum of Ethnography and Art Crafts in Lviv, Central Museum of Textiles in Łódź, CCA Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw, Trafo Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin, BWA in Tarnów, Szara Kamienica Gallery in Cracow, Vilniaus Dailės Akademija, among other institutions, as well as within auteur presentations, performances and fashion shows.