Getting to know Ula Zukowska

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Minutes before showing her Fall 2009 collection, I spoke with Toronto fashion veteran Ula Zukowska about her new collection...

Tell us a little bit about you and your line.

Me?  I'm almost like a veteran in fashion week.  This is probably my 10th season, or actually my 10th year at fashion week and my line has always had an architecture influence from the beginning.  I'm just changing the moods on the runway and I'm just adding a little bit of trend for the line but basically all you see on the runway is for strong independent woman.

Who is the Ula girl?  Who is the Ula customer?

She's an independent woman who doesn't care what someone else would say about her.  She looks how she wants to.

What are we expecting to see on the runway today?

Big hair, great makeup, big shoulders, long legs and strange cuts, but everything for a very high esteem model, girl, woman and mother

What were your inspirations for this collection?

The inspiration for me is always just a good day, nice architecture, nice interior design magazines but no designers, no trends.  I'm just searching all the colours of my imagination, putting together fabric, shape, shape of the girl, that's it.

So after 10 years, what has changed in your design aesthetic?

It's always updating by the day.  It always has elements of the contemporary fashion and what we need everyday.  When the world is going crazy with wars everywhere, it has some influence in my collection as well.  If it's going 'green' and everything is 'green', I have organic fabrics and sometimes it's going back to the previous 10 years fashion, it has some elements.  All of these collections always have an architecture influence.  My background is architecture - I'm an architect, I just switched for fashion so I always keep this as a place for my creation.

And how exactly does your background in architecture influence your designs?

Well I'm creating a shape again, but not for the buildings, but for ladies.

How important is the runway show for your business?  Is it something you use to get your name out there or is it also important for buying?

It's two things.  First, it's my award for all my hard work.  Second is getting my name out there.  The buying side, not always but it's much much easier if I show on the runway, but still I have to work out so much with the buyers.

What kinds of difficulties do you experience being a Canadian designer?

All the difficulties that are possible!  To find a great fabric is the first main problem.  To find a perfect production team is the biggest problem because everything is sent offshore so that's big problems.  To produce a big collection here in Canada is very hard; everything is overseas.  And I would still like to keep everything here in Canada.  Other than that everything has been going smoothly.  As soon as I accepted the invitation for LG fashion week I started penetrating all corners of my imagination and just go through with it.

Is the current state of the economy affecting the business aspect of your brand?

I think everyone is affected by the economy but I still have quite a substantial clientele who are not afraid of this big image of our economy.  Basically they probably don't care.  They're just buying and shopping until they drop, so it's still okay.  But I do feel it, there is a big difference.

So how are you feeling minutes before your collection hits the runway?  Are you nervous?

I'm trying to be very organized.  The day before the show, I always have everything done and if something strange happens, I still have the time.  So I'm not nervous, I'm just waiting for the show.  Now is my enjoyment time.  All those three months of hard work has passed.  Today is my enjoyment day!

Lastly, what can we expect from you in the near future?

I have a show in Europe in Berlin a month after this one and after that I'm going for a big vacation!

Some looks from her collection:

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Posted by HAZEL