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Bio

Monika Jakubiak, b. 1970

Polish born fashion designer and artist.

Monika always loved sewing; as a little girl, she spent free time with her Mum sewing clothes for herself and her teddy bear. Moving to London in the mid-90s, she joined a host of young British fashion designers shaping today’s contemporary fashion. Freelancing for new fashion companies proved excellent hands-on experience in design, pattern cutting, production and embroidery during stints at Clements Ribeiro, Mulligan, Karen Nicol, Marcus Lupfer, Shelley Fox . Further work for Brora , DAKS and Timothy Everest grounded her fascination with high quality British tailoring, attention to detail and the craft of making clothes.

Collaboration with Hussein Chalayan, a visionary designer and artist, was a turning point in her career.

As Monika grew fluent in the language and skills of fashion, she decided to take a year off for research. In 2003, she completed her postgraduate degree at the prestigious Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. After a four month sojourn in India, she established her new artistic practice, Soulstitch, i.e. fashion and sewing workshops for children.

SOULSTITCH

The early 2000s saw the emergence of cheaply available clothes through high street in the UK. Many of the garments lacked quality and craftsmanship. Monika wanted to show children in London how to make clothes so that they could appreciate how long it takes to make a garment. She developed a series of workshops for children as well as for adults with learning difficulties.

Soulstitch became more about participants’ personally – the workshops infused people with a tremendous sense of achievement and their road to being creative in a new way.

In 2007 Watermans in West London invited Monika to develop a fashion project for a group of people with Down Syndrome. During the three month project, she observed that people wanted to have fun, dress up and enjoy their social time while sewing.

Social engagement, exchange of knowledge and skills, as well as the creative involvement of the participants are the main qualities for which Soulstitch is most recognized. In Monika’s projects, the participants become artists themselves.

Soulstitch was invited to develop many workshops for : TATE Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood, West London Academy; Virasad Gallery – Jaipur; AFF Stary Browar, DPT Wigry, Fundacja Widok, Zacheta Gallery – Poland.

The fashion houses of Chloe, Vivienne Westwood and Zien supported some of these projects by providing materials.

Since 2006, Monika has been designing collections for Anokhi in India. Anokhi works with hand block printers in Rajastan, so Monika works in the heart of craft while designing contemporary collections for the large Indian market.

Monika’s practices, i.e. fashion design with consultancy and art complement each other.