Earlier this week, when Gigi Hadid stepped out in New York wearing a two-toned, bell-sleeved denim jacket, the Polish fashion world went crazy. “We are the first Poland-based designer to dress Gigi Hadid,” said designer Krzysztof Stróżyna, the 35-year-old Pole behind the streetwear brand Kreist. “Everyone saw it on Instagram and Facebook, and have been calling and texting nonstop."
While Stróżyna, who launched Kreist after graduating from London’s Central Saint Martins last year, has a full ready-to-wear line, he says his main focus is on his best-selling denim and cross-zip biker jackets.
“Growing up my father was always wearing denim suits to work, really everywhere. So I always wanted to design denim, it was deep inside of me," he said. Unlike most young up-and-coming fashion darlings, such as his fellow classmates in the British Fashion Council’s New Generation incubator program, Stróżyna decided to leave London and open his showroom in his hometown of Poznań, Poland.
“Even when I was studying in London I always wanted to come back to Poznań. For some reason this place is magical for me creatively,” he said.
This is not the first time a celebrity has donned his Eastern-bloc inspired line. After his first season, Lady Gaga commissioned a millennial pink stone-studded leather biker jacket that she wore on stage at a concert in Japan. As it so happened, Gaga’s jacket had the same bell-shaped sleeves as Hadid’s denim one.
“It’s crazy that the two celebrities we really wanted to dress both chose jackets with belled sleeves,” he said. “I guess there’s something to them, they stand out in a way.” The sleeves, which he adoringly refers to as ‘folk fashion,’ are inspired by traditional Eastern European dress attire worn in the former Soviet bloc.
But this comes as no surprise, as Eastern influence has been heavy-hitting in the last year, with international fashion weeks such as Kiev and Tbilisi garnering mainstream recognition, and big name players like Gosha Rubchinskiy and Balenciaga creative director, Demna Gvalsia, taking fashion’s center stage.
But despite his love for denim, Stróżyna opts away from the Canadian tuxedo, and towards the way Ms. Hadid styled it. “I don’t necessarily want denim as a full look—it’s nice to mix it with something else like Gigi did. The way she combines is very modern,” he said.
Watch: Model Gigi Hadid Reveals the Secret to Her Signature Runway Walk