Krakow has hurtled forward from the Communist era, to become a hotbed of Polish fashion design and boutique shopping. A fusion of beatnik edginess and European alternative styles has taken over the city, chichi bars have popped up in old industrial spaces, and concept stores are now the norm along medieval causeways in the Old Town and Kazimierz. Here’s a look at some of the top things all fashion lovers should be aware of.
The dominating style of Krakow’s buzzing fashion scene is a far cry from the haute looks of Paris and Milan. Channeling the gritty vibes of the city’s previous industrial nature, it’s much more akin to the shabby-chic penchant of Berlin. Homegrown local fashion boutiques like Local Hero are the perfect example, offering a range of bold and boisterous threads with a tangy urban edge. Materials like nylon, latex and flannel are all part and parcel to the rise of street fashion, helping to create a look that’s at once crude and cutting-edge.
The newly instituted Cracow Fashion Week is just another symptom of the city’s newfound love for all things stylish. Taking place each March, it showcases the work of countless local and international designers, all under the auspices of the Cracow School of Art. Urban styles have largely taken centre stage in the most recent edition of the festival, with the likes of Paulina Klimek and her Big Apple-inspired streetwear, the industrial minimalism of Paulina Mrożek and the carbon-neutral clothes of Paulina Siuta (no doubt fuelled by Krakow’s worsening smog problem) all featuring.
It may have taken some time for the vintage look to creep across the continent from London to Krakow, but now it’s certainly there to stay. Whether in the flea stalls of the Hala Targowa market on the weekends, or the cavernous Tania Odziez second-hand emporiums for bargain finds in the way of faux fur and weathered leather jackets throughout the week, there are plenty of hotspots for those in search of used threads from a bygone era (a la Shoreditch).
For staying up-to-date with the latest fashion trends in Krakow, locals have one go-to place: the blogosphere. Street Fashion in Krakow is the publication in particular that dominates over all others, with its steady stream of street snaps of locals wearing inspiring, creative or just downright stylish outfits. Again, the focus here is on casual, urban fashion, while a rating system means that the hottest looks are quickly catapulted to the main page by the users. Oh, and if you’re looking particularly nifty as you flit between the cobbled streets of the Old Town, be ready to be approached by one of the Street Fashion bloggers – they let the outfits do the talking.
Krakow is now packed with independent shopping boutiques and quirky design labels such as Mapaya, that are perfect for the budding style seeker. Explore and discover the likes of stripped-down Pan Tu Nie Stał, for those in search of hipster urban wear with a Soviet touch. If high-end boutiques and big name brand stores are your thing, try Pasaż 13. If not, Boogie Flowear could be the place for you, with its grimy urban threads – a flag-bearer for the boho look of Kazimierz locals. And then there are the flea markets on the weekends, and the huge second-hand clothing stores, where vintage bargains hide in the basements!