Barbara Hoff And Hoffland
Her door into the fashion world was also opened thanks to Przekrój weekly. Barbara Hoff began working for the publication in 1954, when she was still a history student at Jagiellonian University. A few years later, she joined the staff full-time and her style column, which delivered a hefty portion of knowledgeable insights, was widely read and enjoyed.
She started out writing a great deal in the DIY vein, helping to guide women through various style hacks in a political reality that blocked access to resources and ideas, but soon she grew tired of the topic. In the mid-1960s, she began designing her own collections. They may have been produced in the country’s socialist-run factories, but they closely followed the trends of the West.
Her first designs were produced on commission for Cepelia (the government-owned company that sought to promote traditional handicrafts made by local artisans), but her popularity extended the reach of her aesthetic aspirations. In 1967, she established her own brand, which thrived for the next four decades. Her company, Hoffland, came out with regular collections with a few hundred pieces of clothing each season, aimed at the younger, hipper customer.
Her ready-to-wear collections were fashionable and affordable. Customers were willing to stand in queues for hours just to get their hands on an outfit from Hoffland! Altercations broke out regularly in Domy Towarowe Centrum (the biggest shopping center of the time, later rebranded as Galeria Centrum), which housed the label’s flagship store, as shoppers vied for coveted pieces.