Acephala shows women how to dress well with a twist
Learning how to dress well for work whilst maintaining your femininity and sense of style hasn’t been easier.
For fashion designers the world over are constantly tapping into the thriving work clothes sector and coming up with new ideas and workwear styles for the fashionable career woman.
Today, professionals have their pick of work clothes in order to express themselves and reveal their true personalities. These choices, for the most part, help women feel more confident in the workplace and can help define who they are.
For the slightly more maverick businesswoman – and in particular the independent entrepreneur who wants to create change in the world – finding everyday wear for work that resonates well with themselves might be more difficult.
‘The key is putting your own personal stamp on work clothes.’ Says Polish fashion designer, Monika Kedziora.
‘The pieces I design are great because they’re so versatile and can be dressed up or down – dependent on how you accessorize.
‘You want what you wear for work to say something about you as an individual!
‘What you wear can affect your mood but can also be very empowering by creating an inner attitude and make you feel confident.’
Monika’s label, Acephala is a progressive one that produces two collections each year consisting of everyday wear including coats, jackets, dresses, skirts, trousers.
Her brand of everyday wear appeals to those who love their freedom, perhaps shun the corporate world and aim to challenge the norm whilst feeling empowered at the same time.
Indeed, Monika herself plays with standard dressmaking methods and introduces unique fabrics and unconventional detailing. In this way, her inventory of everyday wear oozes fun, versatility and creativity.
It also cleverly stays close to the well-dressed, measured and ‘together’ professional look that many successful businesswomen and entrepreneurs desire and understand how to dress well.
‘I aim to make clothes that are comfortable and nonchalant, but at the same time give you a feeling of being well-dressed.’ She explains.
‘I like it when something unexpected happens to a piece that I’m designing in that it could be the change of proportion, an awkward detail, a unusual choice of fabric.’
‘Acephala clothes have an element of extravagance – but they’re never costumes.
‘I think that’s the main appeal for women who look for everyday wear, in that they can wear our pieces and feel smart and comfortable in their work clothes but expect them to be a little different and have fun wearing them.’
At heart, Acephala is for the ambitious and forward-thinking fashionista who might be an entrepreneur who knows how to dress well- or a businesswoman- who likes to take risks.
Monika, who studied at Central Saint Martins, interned for an American fashion brand and worked for the Polish designer Gosia Baczyska, specialized in identity issues when studying contemporary art.
‘This (identity) is still my main source of inspiration and something I incorporate within my collections.’ She says.
‘It’s something that has always existed in society and I wanted to reflect this in the work we do.’
And whilst the brand name derives from ‘Acephale’ which means ‘headless’ ‘Acephala’ is always the designers main point of reference.
‘Acephala is a feminist-oriented label that aims to subvert gender stereotypes.’ Reveals Monika.
‘We observe how different images of femininity are constructed in society and try to manipulate these ideas by giving them an ironic twist or ridicule all the simplifications which surround them.’
Otherwise each of her collections tells a meaningful story with a focus on feminist issues and the role of women in society.
‘Many of our collections were designed with a certain image or phrase, like for example: ‘hysteric’, ‘housewife’ or recently, ‘daddy’s girl’.
‘These are all pejorative characterizations and what we are trying to do, is to turn them over.
‘You can see this in the stories we tell through our collections, but also in the detailing of clothes: their proportions, detailing and prints.’
This season Acephala has drawn off the idea of the ‘power suit’, and in line with the brand ethos – the collection ultimately speaks to the modern professional who might be unconventional.
‘We define Acephala woman as a rebel who plays by her own rules.’ Says Monika.
‘Acephala gang – women who wear our clothes – are linked not by their age or occupation but a certain state of mind.
‘Whatever they do, they represent female empowerment.
‘Our aim this season was to create an alternative to business attire with a set of anti-uniforms for creative workers.
‘Inspiration for the collection came from the analysis of working rituals and the belief that clothes can have an affect on the creative process and its stages.’
In fact, this latest collection also appeals to the businesswoman who travels often.
‘Our whole spring/summer collection is perfect for the woman who travels and demands her clothes to be low maintenance and versatile.
‘This makes them incredibly desirable to take on a business trip and to use for many different occasions.
‘I have designed an asymmetric little black dress made of wrinkle-proof technical fabric that is suitable for a formal dinner but can be also styled with sneakers.
‘Another choice for a female entrepreneur would be the denim suit that I see teamed up with a classic white shirt as an alternative to business attire.
‘This would also work as a casual after-hours outfit.
‘We’re often praised for our shirts too.
‘Somehow, they’re a favorite among our customers, probably because they can be easily transformed from everyday wear into a statement piece for the evening, from work-wear to going for drinks with the girls!’
Photography courtesy of Acephala