We Spoke To Michał Łojewski About Collaborating With PUMA, The History Of UEG And Warsaw's Creative Scene

"I really like to learn — learning is more fun"


Image via Puma


When sports brands collaborate with fashion labels, it’s a statement of intent for both participants. The sports brand is making a statement about how forward thinking they are, while the fashion label is showing their versatility and accessibility. It’s always good to see something interesting and special happen when these two worlds collide.

This season, German sportswear giant PUMA has tapped Polish upstart label UEG, and the results are genuinely exciting. Taking silhouettes from PUMA’s basketball archive, UEG's founder/designer Michał Łojewski has inserted his aesthetic and vision and created a collection that spans footwear and apparel. Working with UEG’s signature monochrome aesthetic and combination of technical and experimental fabrics, the collection plays with themes of space and ambition, underlining the ‘Gravity Resistant’ theme. 

The collection spans apparel and footwear, with four PUMA sneaker silhouettes taking on the identity of UEG, presented in mixed fabrications and bold monochrome colourways. The clothes are of a similar vein, taking the sportswear influence and prowess of PUMA and inserting UEG's experimental ethos and penchant for text-as-part-of-design and ending up with something really, really great.

We headed to Poland to meet with Łojewski at the launch of the collaboration and spoke about the collaboration, the history of UEG and Warsaw’s creative scene. Scroll to see what he had to say. 

The PUMA x UEG collection will be available from select retailers and the PUMA and UEG webstores from September 24.

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You started off as a graphic designer and started UEG as an artistic project, when did you decide to create a fashion label within that and what pushed you to make that transition?

I started UEG in 2004 but it was like you said, an artistic project; it wasn’t seasonal, it was once a year. I did the second project in 2005, and it was published on the Cool Hunter — which at the time was a very popular site, it wasn’t like now, when you have thousands of sites like it. It was a big success; it was pick of the week, then pick of the month and then they put UEG on the homepage of the fashion section for a year. It had such a good response, from places like Argentina, Spain, The Czech Republic, America; people were sending emails just to say they thought it was amazing. But at the time, it wasn’t a brand so they couldn’t buy it — I had no online store or anything, which was a pity [laughs]. I started to feel like I had something very good on my hands, and that maybe I should do something with it to see if it worked or not, so I prepared the first collection.

I flew to Japan, I found a Japanese agent and showed the first season in Tokyo, six seasons ago. The feedback was good, so the next season I showed in Tokyo and in Paris, and then in Paris, Milan and Tokyo. So It’s expanding — the first season was just jackets, since it’s just grown and grown, and now it’s a full range from wool coats to underwear. Now it’s mostly unisex but I’m thinking about starting a small women’s capsule also, and playing more with the styles.

When you first made the decision to transition into making clothes, did you find it challenging to translate your ideas?

For me it’s quite easy to work with three dimensional objects, because I studied industrial design before I moved to graphic design, so 3D thinking was always easy for me. Of course, I’m learning each season, because I’m working with patterns and colours, which I knew nothing about in the beginning. Now I’m learning all the time because I didn’t go to fashion school, but I like to learn, because some of my friends told me that I’m crazy for doing this. In Poland my studio is one of the top studios because I’ve been running it for twenty years. We’ve done the branding for the biggest Polish brands like national banks, insurance companies, communication companies and other brands — brands everyone knows, they’re everywhere in Poland. I’ve won awards for my graphic design work and was in a good position when I decided to change profession and start from the beginning [laughs]. But I really like to learn — learning is more fun.


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