1. What is Acephala ? the story behind the Brand and the Concept store?
Acephala is a premium contemporary womenswear label which was founded in Poland, Warsaw in 2014 by Designer Monika Kędziora and Brand Manager Bartek Korzeniowski. The brand nods at female empowerment through playful, conceptual and individual designs using premium fabrics and quality finishing. ACEPHALA CONCEPT STORE opened its doors to the public at the end of 2015 and shortly established itself as one of the most exciting retail experiences in Warsaw. It is a hybrid of Acephala flagship store, A concept boutique carrying meticulously curated selection of high-end brands, and a contemporary art gallery. Elegant, minimalist space with concrete flooring and black steel furniture-like structures is a home to Acephala’s regular line and limited editions, cult New York label A Détacher, Amsterdam-based menswear line Delikatessen, shoe concept Nunc, eyewear label Sirene and handmade leather accessories by Piel. Acephala Concept Store organises also cultural events like art and photography expositions.
2. What does the name Acephala mean?
The name Acephala stems from the Acéphale (akephalos meaning “headless”) – surrealists’ most favoured figure of freedom. Acephala is literally a headless woman, metaphorically a mad, lunatic, female rebel overruling strict ways of reasoning. Playing with gender stereotypes is the crux of our brand. The figure of Acephala is our constant point of reference when working on our collection development.
3. Tell us a bit more about the Designer behind Acephala; What sparked your interest in fashion?
Before Acephala was founded Monika was doing a PhD in art history. She also graduated from a postgraduate fashion program at the Art Academy in Łódź, finished several courses in draping and pattern making at Central Saint Martins and interned for an American fashion brand A Detacher and Polish designer Gosia Baczyńska. Monika’s academic background is what mostly turned her into becoming a fashion designer. Monika specialised in identity issues when studying contemporary art and this is still her main source of inspiration when working on her collections, it is something that has a huge influence on her work and over the brand as a whole.
4. And your journey up until this point, what has been your highlights so far?
Up till now Acephala introduced 8 seasonal collections and we travelled with them to different fashion capitals: London, Paris, New York, Milan and Kiev. We managed to attract attention from international fashion press including Vogue Italia and Financial Times. Recently we also observe growing interest from different stores and fashion buyers. But talking about highlights of our journey, even more important are people we met on our way and have opportunity to work together on many photoshoots and collaborative art projects like photographers Bartek Wieczorek and Karol Grygoruk or artists Wojciech Tubaja, Dorota Pawlicka and Caitlyn Carlyle.
5. What sets your imagination alight, where do you draw your inspiration from for your designs?
Acephala is a feminist-oriented label that aims to subvert gender stereotypes. We observe how different images of femininity are portrayed within society and try to play with these mental ideals by putting an ironic spin on things or to ridicule all the simplifications that surround that notion. Many of our collections were designed with a certain image or phrase on our minds, like for example: „hysteric”, „housewife” or recently „daddy’s girl”. These are all pejorative characterisations and what we are trying to do, is to turn them over. You can see this in the stories we tell through our collections, but also in the detailing of clothes: their proportions, detailing and prints.
6. Who would you say is your target “fashionista”, how would you describe the women that wears your brand?
We define the Acephala woman as a rebel who plays by her own rules. Acephala gang - Women who wear our clothes - are linked not by their age or occupation but a certain state of mind and attitude. Whatever they do, they exude female empowerment.
7. Your latest SS18 Collection is called “On how to be creative and not get mad”, interesting name for a collection; What was your thinking behind the name? and why that statement?
The inspiration for the collection came from the analysis of working rituals and the belief that clothes can affect the mind, creative process and its stages throughout the day, we set about to produce an alternative from the ‘norm’ business attire with creative workers in mind. The collection is built around 10 different work-associated situations and emotional states: “Writing emails in bed”, “Conference call on Skype”, “Office-related work”, “Running errands in town”, “Business lunch”, “Just one meeting today”, “I need to focus”, “Deadline is coming”, “I need a day off” and “Networking gala”.
8. Tell us more about the pieces in the “On how to be creative and not get mad” collection?
The SS18 collection boasts of modern tailoring with a fun take on work wear for the summer because a grown-up wardrobe should never be boring! Here you will find quality Japanese denim pieces such as the wide leg 1970’s inspired jeans for £160 as well as well as statement pieces such as the gingham shirt made out of 100% virgin wool for £260. Other themes that run through the collection are the black pieces that have been made with a technical anti crease fabric making these styles extremely versatile especially if going on business trips. Acephala work with the best fabrics and this collection is produced in Poland.
9. Why only the focus on Black, Light blue denim and Gingham Check in this collection? What stages in the “creative madness” of work life does the colour palette represent?
The focus of our collections are always fabric and form. When black technical fabric and raw denim has been used for experimental constructions, gingham check and multicolour stripes together with witty prints give light summer vibe to the clothes. In overall, the mixture of structured fabrics and different patterns was aimed to build an impression of creative chaos with inner structure. All the silhouettes were inspired by specific work-related situations and emotions such as: „Two many ideas”, „I need to focus”, „Networking gala”, „I need a day off”, „The only girl in team”.
10. Can you give us a sneak peak into what is to come for AW 18-19?
For AW18 expect to see a warmer colour palette including dark greens, jewelled purples and brown tweeds, we will also be using Japanese denim but in a much darker tone for the season as well as rich corduroy that is a big trend for AW18. As a brand we love to play with the proportions and the cuts of our silhouettes so expect to see more of this, you will see bodice type shapes incorporated into modern dresses as well as oversized jackets. Also with this collection there is a real opportunity to really layer the pieces which is ideal for the winter season.