Beckett and Piotrek’s constant and consistent love of shine and decadence is what makes their label Area so fascinating. It’s these characteristics that drew me to them a season or so ago when they conceived a crystal garter strap intended to be worn over pants… Sassy and shiny!
The embossing techniques and patterned Swarovski elements present in each collection would fit right in with the NYC nightclub from the early 80s that shares the same name. Among the glamour there’s a softness to every image and each garment that could only come from the innovative designers behind the collection, who, along with their muse Eliza, warmly invited us into their colorful studio!
Describe the collection in a few words.
Seduction and Deception.
How did working for industry majors like Chloe and Calvin Klein help sculpt the way you created your own label?
Being exposed to such a high level of craftsmanship and work ethic was really inspiring and opened so many doors for us. Working in the industry is really the only way to build up a vocabulary of important contacts and strategies, and we could not have started Area without these foundations. That being said, our reality is very different to working for a large established brand with an unlimited budget, which has pushed us to get creative, and figure out new ways of achieving the results we want.
In what ways do you see Eliza as a muse to the brand? Could you tell us about a few of your other sources of inspiration ?
We are always intrigued by people who come with a pre-conceived history, and how they relate to that in reality. Eliza’s diverse background and elegance is inspiring to us, hints of old world glamour with modern relevance.
We are interested in the duality of our present times, as we are obsessed with the new, but always hinting to the past. New York offers an amazing network of historic resources which we really try to take advantage of. For instance, we constantly research a various libraries like FIT and The Met, but we also draw inspiration from Tumblr and Instagram.
The brand has such a strong, distinctive aesthetic, the imagery for each season adding to that originality with its 80s glitz sensibilities. Who is the woman you see envisioned in this combination and how do you see her evolving ?
The Area woman romanticizes historic fashion through a contemporary lens. We try to emphasize this throughout our design process where we play with familiar fashion concepts that evoke nostalgia. However it’s important for us to strike a balance between the fantasy and the practical, so we have worked hard to evolve the brand into a label that lives not only in editorials, but in actual closets as well.
How has the process of starting a company as co-creators and co-designers been? What has surprised you the most?
Having a partner was really crucial to the development and evolution of our brand. Even though we each focus on different aspects of the business, we are in constant dialogue. So there is always a sense of accountability, and balance. We have been surprised so many times that I don’t think anything surprises us anymore. Its such a complex and constantly evolving industry and such a huge part of the process comes down to luck – so we try to be as prepared as possible when opportinities arise.
When did you first know you had an interest in fashion?
Piotrek grew up in Poland until the age of 5, which it was still a Communist country. His mother and aunts who he lived with were captivated by beauty and fashion, but unable to dress how they desired unless they made the clothing themselves. As a result, Piotrek was exposed to pattern making and sewing at a very young age.
I received my undergraduate degree in Architectural Design, where I focused on thinking critically about space, form and proportion. I graduated at the height of the recession, and knew I wanted to move to New York, so decided to look into other design field options as well. The new Masters program at Parsons really intrigued me as it allowed a focus on multidisciplinary design, so I decided to transition my focus to fashion at that point.
Poland and Kentucky couldn’t be farther from each other culturally. How did the identity of the brand come to be from such opposites and what is it about this idea of ‘glamour’ that intrigues you most?
Although we come from opposite backgrounds, I think we both grew up with a similar desire when it comes to Fashion. We are not from fashion capitals, so were exposed to aspirational fashion, the idea of seeing and wanting from a distance. Conceptualizing on ideas of glamour, and studying how fashion translates is intriguing to us both.