Surrounded by the grime and grit of post-soviet Warsaw, Natalia Maczek and Katarzyna Kotnowska started by printing t-shirts for their own crowd, dressing the cities young clubbers and skaters in parodies of luxury designs. Since then, the brand has enjoyed unprecedented success.
Stocked at Browns, huge in Asia, and having generated major buzz at New York fashion week, MISBHV has quickly gained international acclaim. By celebrating their Eastern European influences with a sense of individuality and modern awareness, MISBHV has given the cool kids a sartorial concept they can get behind, playing by their own rules in fulfilling an agenda they never tried to conform to. Twin catches up with Natalia to talk real beauty, Warsaw style and building a new world.
You’ve just come back from your second show at NYFW. What was your experience like?
It felt really good. It’s interesting how all the different means of communication – the cast, the garments, accessories, music, space, scent, light and movement come together for a show.
What would your dream MISBHV fashion show look like?
We would like it to feel honest and real.
MISBHV, much like Vetements or Gosha Rubchinskiy, has made its name by making streetwear a luxury brand. How do you think the two work together?
Streetwear is by definition independent and rooted in real emotion. Luxury is often described by the impeccable craftsmanship. We would like to think of ourselves as a brand that can in the future marry both definitions.
You reject the ideal of polished and traditional beauty, both in your designs and your choice of models. What is beauty to MISBHV?
We believe that there is no beauty without honesty. What is beauty if you can not connect to it?
Warsaw, MISBHV’s hometown, is fast becoming a pioneering cultural center, going through a creative upheaval over the last couple of years. Do you think it will soon match the scene in Western Europe? Or is it heading in its own direction?
Because of the hardships of war and communism Poland will never quite match the art scene in the West. We should thus focus on creating our own identity. This is not to say that we support or approve of the domestic politics of the moment.
What kind of person do you have in mind when you design your collections?
We only make clothes that we like. It wouldn’t feel honest designing for anyone outside of our circle. We have a tight group of long time friends that we work with and we also have “muses” like Lera Abova or Sita Abellan.
Have you ever thought of collaborating with another brand?
Not really. We feel like our universe is still to be made. We need to create our own world first.