I guess the time has come to mention a very special kind of clothing brands we’ve never spoken about before. And it’s actually a shame, because almost every single alternative clothing brand starts from just one single person sitting in her/his apartment and trying her/his best to do some first faint stitches. All those sophisticated brand philosophies, expensive photo shootings, endorsements, marketing campaigns and distributing store networks – they come later if you’re lucky. But if you have a chance to take a glance behind the scenes of a new-born brand, you’d see a simple person working hard through trial and error, often even without a clear idea about what she/he wants to achieve. In other words let’s shed some light on the one-person brands, i.e. on one of the best one-person brands I’ve seen so far – Askasu.
The brand was started by young clothing designer Joanna Nowak from Poland and Askasu is right now simultaneously the name Joanna is best known for and the brand’s name. Being born in Lubin, at 16 she started her study at the High School of Fine Arts and had to move to Kraków. Roughly at the same time she started learning to sew, mostly for herself, little by little and with no serious intentions yet. Slowly this hobby turned into a real passion and the passion grew into a real business. Joanna has never had any real education in clothing design, but when she decided to show her first garments online they were welcomed with open arms. She still works mainly in Poland and one might think it puts a certain limit for her chances, but looking at her collaborations with the European models and photographers I really can’t ignore the fact they look actually far better than those many other clothing brands have – just look at the photos in this article!
So what kind of apparel you should expect from Askasu? Usually it’s the outfits with some very rationally designed harness and chiffon gowns as the key elements. Often they include long and short skirts, sometimes with the long transparent lower hems (also chiffon). Somebody would say they have a certain S&M/fetish influence, probably thanks to the harness, but I’d say the most of these dresses look rather fairily, epic or even elvish. If you’re into sci-fi and epic movies, you’d probably expect a sorceress or a goddess to look like that.
As I’ve read online, most people think it’s the harness designs what makes Askasu creations so unique, but I wouldn’t agree. You see, no one could deny her high class craft skills in everything related to the harness, but it would be a huge detraction to say it’s the only thing that matters. The harness could be the base for a dress, but it’s the laces, chiffon, various leather and even sometimes metal elements that makes it a complete elegant and carefully elaborated outfit. Honestly I’ve seen enough clothing designers who worked with this kind of elements and Askasu is obviously one of the best.
As for now Askasu is a brand well-known in the whole Europe and beyond. Her works were featured in a countless number of magazines and you could hardly find a serious professional goth-friendly photographer who’s never ordered an Askasu outfit for a shooting… or many. She is still determined to design her garments very individually and by hand, though as demand grew up she started thinking about hiring people for help (by the way, it can be a huge chance for you if you’re eager to work in this business). So, I guess, may be at some point we’ll see Askasu not anymore as a one-man project, but rather as a creative team. Let’s wait and see…