To design extraordinary clothing and accessories that can inspire and amaze.
To create quality products that I can put my name behind.
To offer excellent customer service and experience.
The Eastern Bloc
On my first Halloween, my parents dressed me up in a cheap Darth Vader costume. I was 5. Less than a year before, my parents and I had immigrated to the United States. We were originally from Poland. Due to increased tensions between the population and the communist regime, my father decided to leave Poland indefinitely and take the family to his mother's homeland, Croatia (in former Yugoslavia). Within about 4 years, the Polish government declared martial law. We also spent some time in Vienna, Austria as refugees.
I grew up with my father regularly lecturing me on the absurdity and evilness of the Soviets and his experiences of communism. He had worked as a merchant marine at the very shipyard that would later form the Solidarity movement, which was widely credited for ultimately bringing democracy to Eastern Europe. Many of my school book covers would be covered in doodles of Soviet caricatures, and hammer and sickle icons. I even taught myself the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet when I was about 14. I loved to hate the Russians.
I grew up in California in the 1980s. I was raised on a steady diet of US pop culture. MTV was my default TV channel (yes, back when they actually played music). My favorite cartoons were ThunderCats, Transformers and GI Joe. Some of my favorite movies from childhood were rated R: First Blood (1982), Rambo (1985), Robocop (1987), Terminator (1984), and Predator(1987). I watched E.T. (1982) and Return of the Jedi (1983) at the movie theater.
The Back to the Future films captured my imagination for years. I fantasized about time traveling, and started listening to an oldies station, which played music from the 1950s, 60s and early 70s. It's no surprise, then, that I also started to appreciate the surge of TV shows and movies about the Vietnam War at that time.
At the age of 14, my love of Back of the Future was overtaken by an obsession with the Mad Max trilogy. While I already loved to dress up in military uniforms and costumes, the Mad Max films inspired me to finally fabricate my own costume pieces, and this was a turning point for me.
Despite having dreams of studying philosophy or film, I joined the US Air Force after high school. I looked forward to experiencing growth and reinventing myself. Films like Gandhi (1982) and many biblical period movies helped not only shape me spiritually, but also gave me an appreciation for hand-spun, hand-woven natural textures, and ethnic designs of the Near East and India.
My military days also were also musically influential. My friends and I started a band - I learned to play drums, and helped style the band for shows. We went to a lot of small concerts together (sometimes in costume) and I was introduced to a lot of grunge, punk and industrial music. I did a lot of experiments with my own personal style.
The Wandering Years
After the military, I did some traveling. I started a Mad Max costuming reference website. I played drums and sang in a band.
September 11th happened, and the Middle-East became a focus of the world's eyes once again.
I volunteered in the costume shop at a local outdoor Christmas reenactment and learned how to use my mom's sewing machine. I taught myself how to wrap turbans. I went to Burning Man. I ran a small Mad Max event. I sold my first costume. And then, with the help of an agent, I did a few costume commissions in the Bay Area.
In 2007, I moved to Los Angeles. I found some occasional work working as an extra, scenic painter and wardrobe assistant for a small production company that was shooting cultural training videos for the military. The videos were set in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
I also spent some time participating in a few Vietnam reenactor events, as well as running my own parties and events.
After running and participating in a few Mad Max-related events, I was one of the key founders of Wasteland Weekend, which today is still the world's largest post-apocalyptic festival.
Then in 2015, as I was stepping down as executive director of Wasteland Weekend, and as the first Mad Max film in 30 years was preparing to be released, I started working full time on my biggest passion: clothing and costume design!