This time a bit different. A bit more serious and maybe more reflective. Robert Krawczyk in conversation with Michał about failures, passions, dreams, and pursuit of the goal. Sometimes we do not realize how hard the road is for someone’s success. Nobody talks about the failures that he scored – people only talk about success. However, Michał stuck out the middle finger with a utopian look and talked about success from a completely different side.
So tell me the story!
Michał Wojewodzic: I will not tell you this story as it happened, I will tell you how I remembered it…
MW: One of my favorites.
As I managed to get to know you a little bit, I will ask you directly: where did this obsession with movies and about the cinema come from?
MW: It’s been in me somewhere since childhood and It doesn’t want to leave. On the contrary. I remember how I sit with my grandfather when I’m a few years old and paste a photo of Sean Connery into my album, listing his pros and cons as an actor. And, of course, I give him a rating on a scale of 1-10 for the overall lifetime of his work. Prejudice your question; he got 9. Such a serious critic, but also a big fan. [laughs] As I mentioned, interest remains and is still one of the main hotspots in my life – the greatest of this world; often imagined by writers. Somewhere out there I describe myself as a person invented by myself for my own needs. Do not ask, please.
Become great or die tryin’?
MW: For some time, my work, duties and most of the things that I do are the simplest vector-based, that lead me to a goal in a better or worse way. This is probably the fourteenth year of my struggle on the market in fashion and private, in a professional sense, so I am not afraid to say that it has already become obsessed with attaining it – not in the Machiavellian sense because I usually feel scratches on myself.
If you try to fulfill your ideal plan for so long, do you finally feel that you have chosen a good direction?
MW: I’m sure I will not know that until the end of my days in these one hundred percent. Each artist strives for perfection, but only those wise and experienced know that they will never achieve it – but they are in a sense obliged to catch up with it; as my Master, Robert says – I hope I have not distorted his words. [laugh]
Even if, I’m sure he will not be mad at you. Master, Mentor, Sensei – Friend?
MW: A very hard question, because I do not know if I can afford such a notice regarding our connections because of the huge respect for him. I do not conceal that I would like to be able to say so and the most beautiful is that it is something more, from my perspective. Mr. Robert – although I’m not sure if he is aware of this – saved my life by devoting his time to me, sharing knowledge and great patience, which I often miss learning or motivating others. I came to his studio at the time of my life, which can be commonly called “on the bend” or “in the deep ass”. Since the first day I was afraid of not letting him down, as well as my parents who then (as always) ‘held’ more for me than thumbs. I knew and know myself so I knew that I can screw up this by my own stupidity.
So what happened so that an apparently very confident person can doubt yourself?
MW: I do not feel this way anymore, but it was quite bad. I am very happy that everything turned upside down. I have fulfilled my dream of being great, about unrolling the sewing room and producing my own clothing collections on my own. The business was growing, customers were coming, that I had to say goodbye to all this in literally one second. There is no point in scratching old wounds, so here I will finish the story of one of my failures.
When conducting workshops or training for almost an hour you talk about your failures. Contrary to appearances, it’s quite a lot of time to fit a lot of content. Is there so much of it?
MW: As I mentioned, over a decade I tried to get to the place where I am now somewhat. Most people only heard about shoes and maybe about one or two other endeavors. At the moment I have over ten unsuccessful projects both in fashion and in other industries over the years. Everyone usually tells how great and unbeatable they are. Literally perfect. On the contrary; I say and admit to many mistakes that I have made and I still do not do it once. I explain why I have not achieved success with glasses, evening dresses or simple t-shirts.
MW: Because you can not do everything yourself. You can not be a designer, producer, photographer and seller at any one time. It came to the fact that I made websites by myself, but weak and not effective even in 3%. So, seeing the real potential with shoes, I decided to find someone a’la brother in crime. Someone who knows things and above all places fights more than me. I cooperate with Mateusz to this day and does not say anything that our paths would be divided. On the contrary. We have brought our lives into this, that we no longer feel weekends in the sense of time off from work – Saturday and Sunday allow us to quell even more when the competition is asleep.
Do you feel the breath of competition at the back of your neck?
MW: That’s the beauty of what I mainly do – the shoes. I have practically no one to compete with. Those three years ago, Mr. Robert really realized the niche of the footwear industry in the segment of hand-sewn shoes, both in Poland and around the world.
The Craft Club, who you create with partners to help revive this market?
MW: The Foundation and also the elite club is not only to support the footwear section but also broadly understood craft – from handicraftsmen, designers through stylists and photographers. All those who fight alone and do not have an idea of how to win. Like me not so long ago [laughs]. We’re looking for rough, often embarrassing diamonds.
How can you find time for another project, quite serious due to your current and future Heroes’ obligations?
MW: As I mentioned. I’m not fighting alone anymore. If I say that I need help or assistance, someone will relieve me and finish the task.
It was hard?
MW: It was.
MW: I realize that all these feelings are very subjective and it is not fair to compare with others or make from myself a suffering person. That is why I believe in the personal path of the samurai. I know how much it cost me nerves, sacrifices, and tears to talk to you today as a person with a pulse. I always speak or judge subjectively, based on my experience and knowledge. And if you do not like it, the door is always in sight. [laugh]
Three years is not much. Your progress over this period is quite uncommon. I would say quite impressive because I think I realize how much self-denial it was. Where does this motivation come from?
MW: I will come back here to the issue of “wailing people”. For years it seemed that I am a person who, against all intentions, will not achieve anything worthwhile. And there was a lot of evidence for it and a lot of wasted time. And he is fucking rushed and does not take prisoners. At some point, I came to the conclusion that it may be the end of this path on literal fumes. The worst thing for me was always how parents constantly still suggest that life is not only about making dreams come true and running after artistic success. Thirty on the back of the neck, and I’ll probably go back to the construction or other gray work again. However, as I always say Fighters Fight, and life, in the end, is one big surprise. And I also talk about it during meetings with interested people. Destroyed, exhausted, breathless, but proud and at the head of the pack [laughs].
By helping people, motivating them, you only move on the subject of business, professional development or dealing with private life problems?
MW: If I decide to cooperate with someone, there are no taboos or secrets. I know how much on me, my development and my psyche influenced the alcoholic problem of the closest person, death or other quite big tragedies that people face every day and I realize very much, how it overwhelms and withdraws the desire to open every morning eyelids. I think to this day I feel slightly suspended between the unwanted morning and the fulfilled feeling of the evening. Therefore, both I and my partners do not give anyone hope. We create reasons in the form of our companies and achievements, and show evidence – and I am one of them.
Are you sure that this hope does not win?
MW: I assume in advance that a person who knows me closer, realizes that I will require some kind of seriousness, awareness and a hard heart. One that is responsible for everyday struggle. Nothing comes right away. As Mateusz says – success nowadays is based on long-term activities and being stubborn often in a superhuman sense. It is no secret that Kamil, who is now with me for good and for bad. After six years, he took the risk and quit from gray work, invested in the necessary tools and from January starred with me arm in arm and is now developing our studio. Following the blow and my light advice, he attacks with the next project – namely with embroidery in which I will help him as much as I can. The more so because the art of embroidery is one and the techniques of ornamentation, with which I would happily settle in the near future.
How would you like to feel in the near future?
MW: Overwhelmed by the successes of my previous partners and new stars in the team!
Referring to Dirty Dozen – ready for a quick twelve?
MW: Go on.
The Legends Of The Fall
Fat rap and film music
Time of day:
One hour before getting up
I’m on a date and I do not have a wallet
New Year’s resolution every year:
Become Great Or Die Tryin.
Only those unruly and imperturbable
Author and photos: Robert Krawczyk
Edition: Karolina Kamińska