Catching up with Magda Butrym
During Spring 2018 market, we sat down with designer Magda Butrym to learn more about her inspiration and what's to come for the brand.
Founded in Warsaw in 2014, Magda Butrym is a luxury ready-to-wear label that has seen a quick rise due to its specialized craftsmanship intended for the modern woman who uses fashion as a means of expressing her individuality and character. We sat down with the Polish designer to talk about her inspiration for Spring 2018, how she envisions the Magda Butrym girl, and what is next for the brand.
Tell me a little bit about your past. Where did you grow up? What did you study in school? Were you always interested in fashion? Fashion was always important in my past, we always cared about what we wore but all throughout high school I wanted to be a doctor. In the last year, my mother asked me why I wanted to be a doctor and I told her that I wanted to wear the nice, white apron (laughs), and she said she didn’t think it was a good idea to be a doctor for that reason. So during the last two months of school I started to think about fashion and I found the only school at the time in Poland. I went in Warsaw and studied costumography and fashion design.
Do you learn the history of costume design first? Yes, you have a lot of history in the first year and I think it is quite important to know the roots and where certain things come from. When you know that, it is easier to design.
Was there any particular era that you were attracted to? I really liked the 18th and 19th centuries. This was one of the main inspirations for the spring/summer collection because I feel that the 1980s took a lot from the 19th century—the sleeves, the big puffy style, and the details. They used a lot of pearls too so I used a lot in this collection. I feel like I like the late 70s and 80s the most, and you can also see that in the collection.
Was there a particular starting point for this collection? I was looking at style from the 18th/19th century in Poland. The women were wearing clothes to empower themselves and to be more important in society so I feel like it is quite feminine but still strong. I deconstructed those styles, I put one sleeve up and one down and like this I made it more modern.
"The women were wearing clothes to empower themselves and to be more important in society so I feel like it is quite feminine but still strong."
In general when you are looking for inspiration are there certain things that you gravitate towards? I listen a lot to what women say they want to wear. I feel like I always think about myself also, because I am a woman in the modern world, so what do I want to wear? Women don’t want to be so over dressed now. They want to mix jeans or a blazer with sexy dresses. It is quite different now. We don’t always want to show that we put too much effort into getting dressed or that we even care so much about it. I feel like I am always looking at women on the street and I feel like the situation now in the world is an influence. Now it is not about wearing mens clothes to be strong and powerful but its the attitude and the state of mind that is important. It’s not about the suit or the clothes empowering you, but you should feel safe in them.
If you could describe the aesthetic of Magda Butrym in 3 words, what would they be? Vintage, empowering, and femininity. Every season I feel more courageous to make it more feminine. Now you have to be quite brave to wear feminine clothes like this because fashion is going more towards street style. I feel when you are wearing this kind of vintage dress, even if you put it with sneakers, the state of mind is that you are a woman.
"It's the attitude and the state of mind that is important."
How has the label evolved and changed since it launched in 2014? The brand is now two in a half years old, and it is quite surprising because we are from Poland and there are not many brands from there. I am still learning and never worked in a big company, I also didn’t go to one of the big fashion schools like Central Saint Martins, so I am learning every season by myself and I develop what I like. When I speak with the buyers, I ask them what is important and they tell me to evolve with what I believe in. Obviously women want new colors and shapes but they come to the brand for something specific so it is quite important to understand that you don’t have to be revolutionary season after season.
What was the trajectory like for you from school to starting your own brand? Did you do anything in between? I was a stylist in Poland. It was quite fun and I learned a lot about what women wanted to wear and I could see what was lacking in the market. Then I worked for a womenswear company in Poland called La Mania—it was a totally different style from my own line, but regardless a great learning experience. You know I read an interview with Proenza Schouler and they said that if you don’t have a specific idea for your brand than don’t do it under your name because it’s so hard to be different from other brands, so when I thought about the vintage vibe and the handmade pieces, this was my idea and I decided to try and do it. I am happy that I didn’t do it under my name when I was younger because it is a big statement.
Where are you based now? Warsaw—that is where our design studio and production are but we also spend a lot of time in Italy because that is where we source the fabrics. I am still designing everything by myself!
"She is quite conscious of what is out there and likes to mix the pieces in with things that already exist in her wardrobe."
How would you describe the Magda Butrym girl? What is her lifestyle like? I feel like it is a girl who has things to do. She wants to be different on the street. There is so much everyday wear out there and I feel like the Magda Butrym girl has to have an interest in fashion and the courage to search for a new brand and believe in it enough to buy it. She is quite conscious of what is out there and likes to mix the pieces in with things that already exist in her wardrobe.
There are a lot of strong, beautiful women that have been seen wearing your clothes. How does that feel? It is amazing. When you think about how many different brands there are out there it is really nice to see them in my clothes. I feel now that the brand name is not so well known but it sells well, so I think that is a testament to the fact that the women just really like the clothing.
Is there someone that you would love to see wearing the clothes? Vanessa Paradis and her daughter Lily Rose Depp.
How do you see the brand expanding in the near future? I want to continue doing the ready-to-wear while incorporating shoes, bags, and accessories. It is going so fast, but I definitely want to stay in Warsaw because it is quiet and far away from the fashion business.