Class of 2022 graduate Julia Mazur shares her final collection 'Holokaustos'
Julia Łucja Mazur studied BA (Hons) Fashion Design Technology: Womenswear and has completed her final collection 'Holokaustos' which is a tribute to Polish accountant and philosopher- Ryszard Siwiec and explores the act of self-immolation.
We interviewed Julia to find out more about her project, inspirations, and her next steps. She talks about her collaboration with Subito Ensemble on the StArt project and the harmony of combining different mediums of creativity into producing new pieces that tell the same story through different perspectives.
Congratulations on completing your final project for your BA22 collection! Tell us about the work you’ve been doing as part of your collaboration with the StArt project.
The KickStART Creative Lab is an opportunity for students across the arts to join in a weekend of online collaborative workshops, skills development and learning for future creative industry leaders. This unique opportunity has abled me to meet and work with fellow students from Royal Northern College of Music, University of the Arts London and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama to explore and develop innovative and creative ideas and projects.
How did you come about working with Subito Ensemble?
As a participant of last year’s StART project, I was able to leave my details on the socials Padlet – a platform that was created by StART coordinators as a space to connect and find creatives to collaborate with, after the project ended. Johanna Leung (Royal Northern College of Music graduate, clarinet player, Subito Ensemble’s musician), found my details there and contacted me in January 2022.
The idea of our collaboration was to give musicians (Subito Ensemble) a collection of artworks, for them to then improvise based on those artworks. In total, I created 4 illustrations based on a few elements such as a recorded performance and musical improvisation.
What sparked interest in creating your final garment; how did this collaboration influence your work?
My final collection‚ Holokaustos’(ὁλόκαυστος), from ὅλος (hólos, “whole”) + καυστός (kaustós, "burnt") or καίω (kaíō, "I burn")pays tribute to Polish philosopher Ryszard Siwiec, who committed suicide by self-immolation in protest against Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.
I was inspired by the idea of reversing the obvious self-immolation rules, where fire dominates over human, which then results in human’s death to reverse the ‘irreversible’. I wanted to focus on the ideological foundations and motivations of a person who sacrificed his own life, his body, his moves, and his mind in the name of Polish nation’s honor.
For my final garments, my intention was to create genderless and experimental looks for multiple people to wear, which represents self-immolation victim burns, covered with symbolic ashes.
Each of my looks were inspired by abstract solids made by sculptress Barbara Hepworth who was a famous figure and was present around the Second World War. Instead of making art that looked like people or things, Hepworth made sculptures and drawings using abstract shapes. This is what inspired me to focus on the fascination on body-concentrated performance acts, rather than seeing it plainly, I wanted to explore how performance artists treat their body as a self-sufficient source and create from it.
Regarding my collaboration with Subito Ensemble, and how it influenced my main collection, or rather the way in which I was initially working on it; I can easily say were the improvisations we both created during the collaboration.
Subito Ensemble’s improvisatory approach to music encouraged me even more to experiment, be as uninhibited and exploratory as possible, to link different disciplines, people, approaches, and instruments.
How would you like your audience to connect with your clothing?
I would love for my audience to get to know the concept behind my collection better around Ryszard Siwiec’s self-immolation, his life and his persona as well as becoming politically and historically conscious.
The most valuable connection the audience can have with my collection is to commit to action. The main message is to stop being socially numb, to see the harm, to react to risk and to sacrifice, both inside and outside of the public eye.
Can you tell us exactly which techniques or research you have used to create your final outfit and why you chose the specific materials?
In terms of my research, the most effective and fascinating technique for me is the method of self-experimenting. Improvising with the chosen objects that are put directly on to the model’s bodies and recording the outcomes, whilst playing around with choreography based on concept, space, and physical features of a researched body. The main goal when using this method was to create a symbiosis, abusive integration of human and an object/garment.
I have really enjoyed using very abstract and formalistically ascetic forms. I chose this format specifically to define the interpretation of spiky fire stakes of the silhouette creating symbols of victory, failure, entity, and demise.
Do you have any highlights you’d like to share? What is your biggest takeaway?
My biggest takeaway would be to think of fashion as a tool, more like a hammer than a defined industry. Because to be truthful and literal, nothing is defined if you are not trying to define it, close it, through an open gate more people would enter.
Mentioned collaboration with Subito Ensemble also showed me that this intuitive, improvisational, often traditionally defined as ‘full of failures’ can and must be treated as a datum, base for every creation, every bustle.
What are your hopes and plans for life after graduation?
As a designer I work with a multi-disciplinary approach, my practice is currently focused on film, movement, and performance art, both in art and fashion.
In terms of my plans after graduation, I want to explore more areas of short film, exploratory movement, and inventive performances within my own practice as a designer, director, both in art-theatre and fashion.
Three years ago, LCF gave me the opportunity, now I feel like I am ready to start building more personal projects.