We meet NEWGEN’s Marta Jakubowski, whose clothes blur the line between minimal and maximal, touching on life, death and every emotion in between.
I meet Marta at a coffee shop near her studio in Seven Sisters. We are both fashionably late. She is instantly recognisable; all in black and red, looking every part her own muse. It’s two weeks before the show and Marta’s busy; “There’s not a lot of sleep happening at the moment, but I thrive on that – this is my favourite time.”
Marta is now in her second season, showcasing with the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN lineup of new design talent.
“It’s so exciting.” she says, all smiles.
Having previously interned at Alexander Wang in New York as well as Hussein Chalayan and Jonathan Saunders, Marta moved from Germany to London to study; “I fell in love with this city – fashion is taken seriously here, it’s part of the culture.”
After her acclaimed graduate collection in 2014 from London’s RCA, which saw garment’s connected via trains of fabric and head braces, Marta presented her AW15 range as part of BFC’s NEWGEN sponsorship in London and Paris. I bring up the topic of Catwalk vs Presentation, interested to hear her thoughts; “I think it’s so important to create the atmosphere, I like the movement element of the runway, but it feels like it’s lost something. If you look back at the old McQueen, Margiela, Galliano catwalks, they were beautiful – the choreography and the theatre of it.”
The idea of theatre and performance resonate with Marta, who spent her early career working in costume, making outfits for ballets, musicals and operas: “You had to learn how to analyse the characters – especially with ballet, you had to learn how they moved and design around that. It taught me a lot about the figure and the importance of precision. “Marta’s signature look is bold yet relaxed in a stripped back palette, leaving the silhouettes to do the talking; ” The colours are bold to compliment the cut”, she explains “I only design what I would wear – it should always be wearable.”
Jakubowski’s mood boards are honest and emotional, with previous collections being focused around places such as hospitals and prisons, and feelings such as grief, sickness, madness and depression; “It’s to do with how I’m feeling – you can’t fake that. A lot of people find it a little dark but I don’t at all.”
For S/S17, Marta will continue her journey focusing around life and death; “I’ve been travelling this season and visited Varanasi in India, where I saw the Hindu ritualistic burning of the bodies. That celebration of the cycle of death and re-birth was so inspiring – we mourn, they celebrate – it’s beautiful.” – So, perhaps a hint to a brighter palette this season? – Marta laughs; “It’s a surprise!”
Finally I touch on the journey of where she is today, asking what advice she would give to aspiring designers. “Be patient. Travel as much as you can and do as many internships as you can. Don’t rush – it doesn’t have to be just three years, take the time to find yourself. I know money is an issue, but if you want it you can make it work!”
Marta’s show will be on Friday 16th September.
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