Prior to setting up her own company, Szczotarska had been working as collection director at Maison Martin Margiela
Dialogue in Design
“Szczotarska has developed a strong, modernist aesthetic using conceptual cutting and distinctive detailing. Her design style has been described as ‘intellectual chic’”.
— Hywel Davies, 100 New Fashion Designers (London: 2008)
“Szczotarska loosely fuses modern geometric designs inspired by Russian constructivism and a 1960s modernist vision. Her collection exudes sophistication, intensity and playful fantasy.”
— Victoria and Albert Museum website (November, 2002)
Katarzyna Szczotarska moved to the uk from Poland in the 1980s. She graduated from Middlesex Polytechnic and the London College of Fashion, where she would later teach fashion design. In 2001, Szczotarska founded a fashion label under her own name and won the Top Shop New Generation Award. She was awarded the same prize in 2003.
Prior to setting up her own company, Szczotarska had been living in Paris for three years, working as collection director at Maison Martin Margiela, where she was one of Margiela’s closest collaborators. Szczotarska also worked for Arcadia Group, a British multinational retail company. She stopped trading under her own label in 2008 after the economic crisis hit.
It was Szczotarska’s analytical approach to clothing design which really delighted critics. She would reinterpret design classics — such as the trench coat or the white shirt— by subtly changing their proportions and tearing the material or straightening and letting out the material. For her, destruction led to creation and chaos brought new order. An unusually-tied knot or a crookedly sewn flounce created a new design and a fresh outlook. However it was also important that her designs be both functional and practical:
“I like when there’s dialogue between the designer and the consumer. When a piece of clothing has depth, there’s a lot to discover in its detail and finishing. I’m quite precise, and I try to express myself in an alphabet that people can read.”
— Katarzyna Szczotarska in nylon (November 2004)
Katarzyna Szczotarska’s designs from her Autumn/Winter 2002 collection are on display as part of the permanent exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. In 2002, Szczotarska showcased her collection as part of the V&A’s Fashion in Motion event.