Q&A | Natalia Maczek and Thomas Wirski of MISBHV
Emerging from Warsaw’s techno-punk scene, Natalia Maczek and Thomas Wirski conceived M I S B H V. The streetwear-turned-contemporary brand is rooted in conversations of culture and music in the post-socialist society of Eastern Europe. Poland defines the very DNA of M I S B H V, which encourages them to stay and nurture the creative talent that’s flourishing in the country’s capital. In recent years, the brand has skyrocketed; with upwards of 70 plus stockists and a thriving online platform, to say it’s in demand is an understatement. M I S B H V illustrates a nightlife tale of pride and progressivism with heavy denim and leather, monograms, and techno-graphics. Flaunt spoke with creative director, Wirski, discussing key influences, the brand’s “Sonic Sculptures,” and their latest Reebok collaboration on Daytona DMX.
Which aspects of art and culture influence your creative process?
Creation comes from inspiration, and inspiration comes from the outside world. Our world has always been the intersection of still image and music - a uniquely European perspective on rave and club culture in particular.
Explain your personal connections to the early 2000s’ rave culture.
Because of my parents, I was exposed to music from a very young age. I became a DJ at the age of 17, released my first record and started touring the world - Europe, America, Asia - at 21, then stopped DJing/music altogether at 27. I have spent a decade in that environment, making friends, getting lost, and building up a certain world view in the meantime. Despite its often destructive, nihilistic nature it is a fascinating world, very free and idealistic.
How has Warsaw influenced the ethos of the brand?
Europe, Eastern Europe, Poland, Warsaw have birthed the DNA of M I S B H V. Bowie’s 1977 “Warszawa” produced by Brian Eno is such a perfect record. The 1960’s jazz scene with Komeda and Stańko, Polish School of Posters with Szaybo, then the punk scene, the rave scene, the Y2K rap scene. The architecture - modernism, classicism, brutalism - all sitting next to each other in an unsettling manner. We love our country; we love our history, we are dissatisfied with the present but want to keep building a bright, beautiful future.
How does the brand operate in comparison to other online-driven platforms?
M I S B H V was not created as a business. We never had business cards, and we are probably the only young designer brand that is 100% independent. We keep doing what we like doing and try not to pay attention to any of that noise. We work for the sheer joy of making interesting garments that carry meaning for the kids that care and for us.
How have “Sonic Sculptures” contributed to the foundation of MISBHV?
M I S B H V is very specifically rooted in the music of the underground. “Sonic Sculptures” is a place for our friends and family to share their stories in the form of 60-minute long journeys. We think of them as “journeys” rather than “mixes” as we encourage everyone to DJ with their emotions rather than a generic “club” logic. It’s also a place to share our presentation/show music that is usually much more condensed and focused and in direct conversation with each collection.
What inspired the multi-planetary space travel concept for your recent collaboration with Reebok on Daytona DMX?
When we started to work on the Daytona DMX, about 18 months ago, I was re-living my obsession with Jamiroquai. I’d listen to the records over and over and look at the videos over and over. I connected to Jay Kay when I was a kid and kind of forgot about my appreciation for his ideas - in favor of a less polished, less nice-sounding music. I was blown away to go back into his audio and video. That particular time in space was always a huge inspiration for M I S B H V visually - the late 90’s and the early 00’s. The photography and advertisement and music. It’s started building up from there.
What’s next for MISBHV?