Fashion under Martial Law

18 April – 30 July 2023

Fot. Magdalena Lorek

Curators of the exhibition: Dr Małgorzata Możdżyńska-Nawotka (NMWr), Maria Duffek-Bartoszewska

Sweaters knitted using the so-called Kowary wool, i.e. remnants of industrial wool from the eponymous carpet factory, dresses made from home-dyed cotton cloth traditionally used as baby nappies, coats decorated  with colourful appliques, hand-woven jackets and other items of clothing worn in Poland  during the difficult times of martial law in the 1980s are showcased for the first time in this unique exhibition dedicated to this subject.

Among the shown designs there are works by amateur dress designers, as well as those created by renowned professionals such as Jerzy Antkowiak, Grażyna Hase, and Barbara Hoff.

The economic crisis in Poland in the 1980s resulted in the actual collapse of both the clothing industry and  market in Poland. An interesting trend of that time were clothes designed and made at home, which compensated material shortages with their inexhaustible inspiration, inventiveness and personal involvement, and competed against the overwhelming greyness and shabbiness of the surrounding reality with their colour, wit and imagination. At the same time, these clothes made references to current fashion in the West, took inspiration from the ready-to-wear collections, and the boho style. These clothes document a particular moment in the history, but in their material aspect based on recycling and individualistic eclectic aesthetics, are also surprisingly modern.

The exhibition is accompanied by a published catalogue.