Katedra Mody has now been tipped to become one of Europe’s leading schools of fashion. The school combines Polish academic traditions with those of the London and Antwerp schools.

Fashioning Tomorrow’s Designers

 Zosia Ufnalewska diploma collection 2014. Photo: Tomek Mąkolski, courtesy of Zosia Ufnalewska

Zosia Ufnalewska diploma collection 2014. Photo: Tomek Mąkolski, courtesy of Zosia Ufnalewska

“An interdisciplinary outlook and pushing boundaries are key to learning and design. Institutions of further education should not only give students the tools they need to describe the world, but also those required for changing the rules, for pushing boundaries. A shift from thinking in purely national terms to thinking globally is crucial; students need to be open to a diversity of experiences and aesthetics.”

— Janusz Noniewicz, director and founder of the
Katedra Mody programme

In 2010, the Faculty of Design at Warsaw’s Academy of Fine Arts opened Katedra Mody department of fashion. The department boasts an international teaching and research staff, which includes London designer and Central St. Martin’s alumna Martina Spetlova, Norwegian Damien Fredriksen Ravn, winner of the Nordic Talent of the Year Award and Elle Style Award in 2014, and Berlin-based Danish designer Thorjorn Uldam. Both Ravn and Uldam graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. 

After their second year of studies, students at Katedra Mody undertake internships at some of Europe’s most prestigious and well-known fashion houses, including Alexander McQueen, Proenza Schouler, Iris van Herpen and John Galliano. 

  Kasia  Skórzyńska  diploma collection 2014

Kasia  Skórzyńska diploma collection 2014

The department’s first diploma-work collections were shown in 2014, to critical acclaim. The Guardian dubbed Warsaw “an undiscovered fashion hotspot”, and the Katedra Mody collections also featured on the pages of Women’s Wear Daily, Vogue.it, i-D, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. Collections designed at Katedra Mody have been shown in Paris, Stockholm, Beijing and as part of the International Fashion Showcase at London Fashion Week. 

The institution has now been tipped to become the first in Poland to be considered one of Europe’s leading schools of fashion. The school proudly dispenses with hierarchy and regimented learning and combines Polish academic traditions with those of the London and Antwerp schools and this is the key to its success. 

Katedra Mody, graduation show 2016, photo Michał Dominowski

“Fashion, like art, requires a particular framework, which is why schools of fashion very often have their own language, their own canon. We take these canons and trends and make a collage. We don’t focus on creating a single aesthetic range and we don’t mind transgressing norms. Hierarchies only exist in the first year of study — students quickly come to learn what is permissible in fashion, and what is not. In the second year, we take this regimented style of learning and demolish it completely,” Janusz Noniewicz in conversation with Marcin Różyc in Dźwięki i szwy ‘Sounds and Seams’ 2016

  Karolina Mikołajczyk collection, photo  . Mateusz Bylica

Karolina Mikołajczyk collection, photo. Mateusz Bylica

Paulina Latham