Fashion capital: the city of Łódź
In the post-war era, the city of Łódź was chosen by the government to be the nation’s center of fashion. Why was it the prime location for the purpose? Mainly because of its legacy of textile manufacturing, which hailed back to the 19th-century – the city’s famous textile mills were the reason that so many people flocked to the city in the first place.
After World War II, establishing this fashion center also carried significant political implications by solidifying the cosmopolitan character of the nation’s capital. Łódź was where the factories were built, along with museums and the first school of fashion – the second most important institution of the sort after the city’s film school. The fashion school, established in 1948, became part of the National Higher School of Visual Arts (PWSSP, established in 1945). For many years, its most important faculty was the Textile Department – the school still offers an array of fascinating courses in textile design today. According to Ty i Ja (You and Me) magazine, in 1969, 85% of Clothing Faculty graduates worked in the industry – in labs, design houses and, most often, in factories.
In the 1950s in Łódź, efforts were undertaken to establish a Central Museum of Textiles, which was finally opened in 1960, and was initially called the Museum of the History of Textile Weaving. Ludwik Geyer’s White Factory – the first manufacturing facility to use steam power, acquired by Geyer in the 1930s – was chosen to be the museum’s home. To this day, Łódź remains Poland’s only cultural center that is so intricately tied with the fashion industry, although there are pieces in the collections of many national and regional museums across the country. The museum is known worldwide for its International Textile Triennial, which has been held since the 1970s.