Overdressed

at Work:

Maciek

Lechocinski

an interview

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M

              aciek Lechociński is a stylist and model. He has studied Polish Philology at the University of Warsaw

and is based in Poland. For as long as he remembers, he has always enjoyed modelling clothing himself, which later translated into wanting to also style others. 

He freelances as assistant stylist, which sees him working on sets such as the one of StyleCruze magazine this year. He has also previously worked as a sales associate at TK Maxx, bynamesakke and Chloé.

Besides his passion for styling, he is also interested in other forms of creative expression, such as  music, and is currently working at the Julian Cochran Foundation, doing PR and Communication for an event that combines classical music and fashion.

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Overdressed: Thank you so much for being part of our series, Maciek. We are incredibly happy to have you and to get an insight into your exciting work as a stylist and model. I have seen the results of some of the photo shoots you have been involved in and they looked absolutely stunning.

Maciek: Oh! That's so nice. Thank you very much. I appreciate your opinion. I love Overdressed Magazine and its stylish layout, interesting articles and its support of young people who want to find their place in the fashion industry.

O: Thank you so much, for all of these wonderful compliments. We are glad you like what we do!

You have studied Polish Philology at the University of Warsaw. Why did you decide to study this and have your studies impacted you in any way?

M: Contrary to many people's opinion, I think Polish Philology is a very practical field of study. During my classes I gained skills in the field of linguistics and the history of Polish literature. Thanks to that, I can easily connect with a photographer during a photo shoot and it’s much easier for me to present and defend my artistic vision. My vocal projection classes also helped me a lot! Thanks to the correct projection of my voice, I have the strength to defend my opinion. I feel more confident thanks to that and can communicate my crazy ideas in a clear and convincing way.

O: Would you say that there are ways in which your studies influence your work as a stylist?

M: For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in literature and fashion journalism. It was the best option for me to learn the “know-how” of writing and grammatical traps. I heard bad accounts of studying Journalism, so I decided to choose Polish Philology. In my opinion the literary world is created by our imagination. Thanks to Polish Philology I started noticing that I can use many literary aspects in my fashion projects, because fashion is not about clothes, it’s about magic, history, relationships with other people and more... I like thinking in that way about my stylist job.

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O: I love this idea, you are absolutely right. I do think that literary studies can be helpful in so many other areas of life or work.
How did you gain your first experience as a stylist and eventually start freelancing?

M: It was a big and very exciting moment for me. I prepared for the stylist competition “Bitwa stylistów 2018” which was organised by Answear.com. My best friend Weronika took a few photos of my styling. I created unique looks and original combinations. We didn’t win this competition, but I was very proud of our work. It was the first time I thought about becoming a stylist. Sometimes I think Poland isn’t ready for my fashion styling ideas for men…

O: If Poland isn’t ready, who do you think might be and which country would you like to work in?
 

M: Italy, for example. Italians approach fashion in a way that suits me very well, i. e. they buy few things but of exceptional quality. Apart from fashion, they really celebrate daily rituals and the aesthetic aspect is very important to them. They won't drink coffee from just any cup. They have their beloved teacups, coffee shops where they spend quality time. They have their beloved artisans whom they support. The work of human hands has always been valued by them. I love their fashion, culture and lifestyle.

All the projects I have done so far I owe to my own diligence and obstinacy...

This is a more difficult way, but the satisfaction of completing a project you had an influence on is much greater.

O: As a freelancer, how do you actually get to work on projects? Are you approached by the creatives or do you apply to magazines, such as StyleCruze?

M: It looks different every time. I am still quite new to this industry, so I believe there are still many projects ahead of me. Most often it is photographers who contact me about collaborations—which is pretty funny, because I seem to be the one most photographers come back to when they're looking for a stylist for a new project. When it comes to modeling, it was more often me finding the creators. I worked with a Polish model agency, but it was a very unfortunate adventure. All the projects I have done so far I owe to my own diligence and obstinacy and I am therefore not working with an agency currently. This is a more difficult way, but the satisfaction of completing a project you had an influence on is much greater.

O: What do you look for when you decide whether or not to work on a project—whether as stylist or model—and what do your personal preparations look like before the actual photo shoot takes place?

M: When I work as a model I prepare the day before the session. I do exercises like push-ups and cardio. They make me feel confident that I will look energetic in photos and that everything will be bundled up as it should be. Then I cleanse my face properly. I usually use an enzyme scrub for this, then do a quick but intense facial massage and apply a highly moisturizing serum at night. I get up in the morning with a radiant complexion ready for a session. Later, I still do a quick but very intense 10 minutes of cardio before I go out and head into the session and apply 30 SPF sunscreen—as always.

That’s it.

O: What does the everyday look like for you when you are working on a project? Are there any aspects which you think people should know about the work of a stylist or model, aspects which you are only aware of when you’re actually working in either of these positions?

M: I think people should realise that the competition is huge and just because your friend said you look nice today doesn't mean you can become a stylist or model. You need to have talent and specific personality traits, i.e. humility, diligence and patience. Yes, patience! Often one has to wait for years to make the most beautiful sessions reality. There can be a lot of frustration accompanying this process, but if you feel like you want to do it, you have to get through this difficult period.

O: You said that you have always enjoyed dressing both yourself and others. As a stylist and model alike, this is, of course, a big part of your work. Are there any other parts about what you do that bring you a lot of joy?

M: Indeed! It is storytelling through clothing. Fantastic, dramatic, sexual. It's all in the clothes. Of course, you also need to know how to move, how to wear even the simplest things to create the effect: WOW! I don't want to reveal all of them, because they are my professional secrets, but I can certainly say that a huge role is played by your self-confidence. If we are good people, don't hurt anyone, don't steal, pay our bills, etc. then what have we got to be ashamed of? There is a misconception in Poland that you should be artificially modest. I absolutely disagree with that. You have to be confident in your skills to be a professional at what you do. There is no other option.

There really isn't.

I am an extrovert and I draw on the wisdom of others and their stories.

Meeting another human being has always been beautiful to me.

O: We have all been living with and around coronavirus for over a year now. How has it affected or changed your work and are there any ways in which you have adapted to this situation?

M: I have to admit that this situation is particularly difficult for me because I am an extrovert and draw on the wisdom of others and their stories. Meeting another human being has always been a beautiful experience for me. I primarily work remotely at the moment, but I have to admit that Zoom is not the same. I miss the closeness of another human being.

 

My current focus is on my internship at the Julian Cochran Foundation and on preparing the "Moda na klasykę" event created by the Foundation and Hala Koszyki. I am happy to be able to work at the foundation and to learn from the best people in our profession. "Moda na klasykę" is a combination of two of my huge passions—fashion and classical music. Its main objective is to financially support young artists-musicians. I make music and write lyrics myself and I know which problems artists have to face. It's always about the same thing: finances.

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O: Has the pandemic in any way changed what fashion means to you personally or do you think it has changed the wider understanding we have of fashion?

M: Yeah. I approach fashion in a completely different way. I still buy a lot of clothes—it's stronger than me—but I pay even more attention to whether the clothes are high quality or second hand. If I choose a fast fashion chain, I always choose the premium lines—or, in the case of H&M, Trend or Studio. These are more expensive, but it's worth waiting for the promotions that pop up from time to time. Besides, I have to admit that 70% of my wardrobe is vintage clothes from second hand stores. I love sourcing clothes this way, and if I find gems like Gucci loafers or an original Ganni sweatshirt, my joy is doubled.

 

I've also noticed that people now think of clothing as shelter. They want to feel safe and comfortable in them. We place more importance on quality and workmanship. Trends have blurred, and we're looking for clothes that are comfortable to eat breakfast in and then go do yoga or walk the dog. We're not so keen on trends anymore. In my opinion, it's an interesting moment for fashion. People are finally starting to understand that quality is more important than quantity.

O: I think your observations are spot-on. Essentials and loungewear really have become the new "trend".
After this, what are your plans for the future? Are there any specific goals you have or projects you want to work on?

M: I would really like to be able to live from fashion only and to do more and more shoots for foreign magazines. I'm also constantly thinking about moving abroad. It seems to me that many Poles don't understand fashion and think that what I do is unnecessary. That's not true. In a job interview, we have the first few seconds to convince someone of our vision. We should be well-prepared in terms of content and dressed well and neatly, in order to make a good first impression. A few diction exercises before the interview won't hurt either. If we make a mistake somewhere, there's no second chance. That is why it is worth using the services of a stylist. We're needed.

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O: Thank you so much for all of your insights, Maciek. That was deeply inspiring and interesting. It was an absolute pleasure to do this interview with you.

M: Thank you so much for the interview and your beautiful words. It was wonderful to share my experience and observations of the fashion world and beyond with the Overdressed readers! I hope we get a chance to talk more, because I feel like we caught a nice flow. See you soon, Overdressed!

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Credits

Photos
Maciek Lechociński

Editor & Layout
Veruschka Haas