Currently the Polish online fashion market, including jewellery, accessories, shoes as well as clothes designers, is definitely well-off. Since almost a decade ago the first online galleries came into being and started gathering designers, we can now speak of a great progress and development, which got a second wind during the past few years.
Poland can boast about constantly growing number of designers, who open their ateliers and boutiques in new locations, which among others are: Gosia Baczyńska, Maciej Zień, Łukasz Jemioł, Paprocki&Brzozowski or Bizuu. It is noteworthy what changes have taken place and how they affected the transformation of Polish fashion market into such a machine as it is today.
The first galleries were established almost ten years ago: Decobazaar and Pakamera appeared on the Internet in 2005, Modna.pl in 2008 and Trendsetterka in 2009. Right now the strongest position and the greatest reputation has Pakamera as it cooperates with an overwhelming number of Polish designers – 1590, Trendsetterka with 408, Modna.pl 120 and DaWanda claims to have 4872 designers, however it is not a Polish, but Europe-wide initiative, which appeared on Polish market two years ago.
Nevertheless, the amount of designers registered in a certain gallery is not an indicator of prestige. Even though DaWanda is the most populous one and can boast three times as high number of designers as Pakamera, it is still the latter that holds the top position. There are several factors that contribute to that. First of all, Pakamera is an entirely Polish creation, almost ten years old. During that time Pakamera has managed to build a wonderful reputation as a gallery that is honest, professional and obviously trend-setting, due to its collaboration with amazing artists and craftsmen.
The beginnings of each online gallery looked similar – there was established a platform on which designers could publish their artworks and clients could comfortably make purchases. The mechanism was very simple – designers uploaded their artworks, provided with photographs and descriptions, then after having been bought by customers, artworks were sent via postal service.
The demands towards designers were incomparably lower than they are at present. During the last decade the market has been changing and the main initiators of changes were the leading galleries. Right now, getting a place among the designers of Pakamera is a huge distinction, but also an indicator of being creative and hardworking. Pakamera is very demanding of its designers, as it focuses on innovativeness and uniqueness, but also on high quality of customer service and designers’ own marketing activity, e.g. brand-name boxes or bags, high quality product photographs and visual cohesion. Pakamera offers not only a wide range of products crafted in various techniques, but also products made of unusual for jewellery or accessories materials, such as Lego blocks, paper, resin, ceramic dishes, plastic and others. Apart from that there is also jewellery made of noble metals and precious stones by professional goldsmiths. When it comes to clothes, everything can be found here: basic T-shirts and original designs up to wonderful evening dresses sewed of fine fabrics. Bags, shoes, interior design, furniture and toys. And, what is most important, these are all original, handmade projects.
Despite all that, Pakamera is still below the level of Showroom (SHWRM), which is then behind Mostrami. Mostrami is currently the most exclusive project, which gathers the most renowned brands in the Polish fashion industry. Here we can find, among others, designers who has been on the Polish fashion map for considerably long time, they are famous, recognizable and closely cooperate with the greatest Polish music and film stars and politicians, e.g. Gosia Baczynska, Robert Kupisz, Teresa Rosati and Paprocki&Brzozowski. Prestige can be noticed by prices of offered goods, which sometimes reach the amount of 12.000 PLN for an article of garment. While joining the ranks of Pakamera is difficult, cooperation with Mostrami is equal with the highest prestige on the Polish fashion market as far as online galleries are concerned. Showroom is also a gallery of very high standard, but so far it cannot boast about such brands as are present in Mostrami.
As has been mentioned, currently there is no place for boredom or repeatability on the Polish online fashion market. In order to make a name for oneself, one has to show creations that has not been shown before. And, apart from that, it is only necessary to present one’s designs in way adjusted to current standards. Poor quality of artworks, techniques or lack of a defined idea that a designer follows is out of the question.
Looking closely at the standards set by the most renowned galleries and designers, one may be under a right impression that it all goes in the right direction of dynamic, creative development.
The icing on the cake of Polish fashion scene is Gosia Baczynska. This year she was invited by The Fédération Française du Prêt-à-Porter to present her collection for the Fall/Winter 2014 season during the Paris Fashion Week. Even though there are a few Polish designers who are famous worldwide, yet no one has ever managed to get this high. But that was not the end of her successes, after her show she was officially appointed as a permanent member-designer of the Paris Fashion Week. It is a great prestige, as since now a Polish brand will have to opportunity to show its designs shoulder to shoulder with the most acknowledged world fashion dictators, such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent. It has to be emphasized, however, that she has worked for a very long time to achieve such a success. A great thing about the interested party is that she doesn’t seem to have become overly big-headed about that. She honestly admits that the honourable mention is a result of years of hard work and commitment. Gosia spontaneously confessed that “It is a new chapter in my life.” Thanks to her achievement, the reputation of Mostrami has grown even greater and it is unlikely to be undermined by any other.
However, there is also the other side of the coin. As has been proven, the Polish online fashion market is really well-off, but the main difficulty it faces is the fact that Poles prefer to trust foreign multinational retail-clothing companies such as H&M or Zara rather than independent Polish brands. In Poland, both H&M and Zara are perceived as style creators and additionally, their clothes are cheaper than designer-clothes. Poles are still quite distanced towards native brands even though they gain popularity abroad and stars such as Anja Rubik, Kelly Rowland or Justin Bieber have already appreciated them, Poles prefer to support more the foreign ones. It is true that Polish designer-clothes, jewellery and accessories are often of high price, but the main problem is constituted by lack of trust and awareness.
Despite of that, taking into consideration that online galleries are constantly developing and we can more often hear about successes of Polish designers, there is hope that in short time we would more often see people dressed in Polish brands. The high standard of Polish online galleries can be compared to their counterparts from abroad in many respects: they sell products of very high quality, improve customer experience and use new channels and forms of advertising. The best thing we can do is to from time to time support Polish fashion by purchasing what if offers and observe a spectacular progress.