Each and Every Woman
is Beautiful

Danuta Kuklińska, Fot.: Ewa Janicka

An interview with Danuta Kuklińska – a designer at Kuklińska DK Fashion in Kraków, the winner of Charismatic Woman and Leader by Vocation in the Leader in the art of designing classic clothing category. Kuklińska DK Fashion is a Polish gallery of proprietary outfits for special occasions, solely specialising in dresses for mothers of brides and grooms. Aleksandra Kuklińska-Nir, Danuta’s daughter and current owner of the company, joins the interview.

Danuta, you’ve been running an entrepreneurial business for 33 years. When exactly did your leadership skills start manifesting?

Danuta Kuklińska: Early, at school. I used to be a girl scout for 10 years and hold various leadership positions: I was a troop leader, in the second year of high school I started organising camps and hikes in the Tatra and Bieszczady mountains. It was a time that forced me to be independent, and I was already learning how to manage a group of people or how to find myself in difficult situations. It is also true that I always wanted to move forward. After high school I studied marketing and management at the Cracow University of Economics. During my student internship at Moda Polska, I had the opportunity to learn the entire process of making clothes. I spent most of my time in the design studio, which came in very handy later in the process of creating new creations. I even started studying design in Łódź, which I had to interrupt due to the birth of my son.

When did you set up your own company, DK Fashion Studio?

We select materials in Turkey for customers
Bursa Textile Show, The Region’s Biggest and Turkey’s only textile fashion show, 18-20 October 2022

DK: Right after university, in 1989. Two years ago I suspended my business and retired, while Ola set up her own company, Kuklińska DK Fashion, and now we work closely together. My company, DK Fashion Studio, dealt with mass production, I designed all the clothes myself and distributed them to shops all over Poland. I used to employ about 30 dressmakers. Dressmakers, not seamstresses, because they sewed the whole garment, not just parts of it. Then I changed my profile and specialised in sewing formal, elegant clothes, creations for weddings and special occasions. I opened several shops in Krakow, including a shop on Gertruda, Grocka and Dluga Streets, where they were sold. I liked the fact that Ola created an atelier with individual customer service. We now make tailored formal, evening and cocktail dresses. We offer design, styling, tailor-making and fabric selection. Particularly, we want to focus on Mums of brides and grooms.

How many clients visit you each year?

DK: We don’t keep such detailed statistics, a dozen or so ladies come in a month. One client brings another and that’s what we aim for. I’m proud to say that many of them have made use of the services of DK Fashion Studio and we won their loyalty.

Ola, when did you make the decision to start your own business?

Aleksandra Kuklińska-Nir
Fot.: Barbara Bogacka Fotografia

Aleksandra Kuklińska-Nir: In 2018 while still at the university. Although I graduated with a major completely unrelated to the fashion industry, I actually have always been close to it because of my mother’s work. It was a time where I was looking for something of my own and I think it was a good choice. I looked at the business in a more modern way in comparison with my mum’s tradition, but we’ve reached a consensus and it works. We specialise in designing creations for mothers of brides and grooms and the shop is mainly devoted to them.

DK: So far we’ve had clients mainly from Kraków, but since we started running a Facebook profile and gained a large audience we’ve been getting more and more women from all over. Ola is currently working on opening an online shop. It should be up and running in January. There will be a few products, but the same direction – tailored sewing for mums of brides and grooms.

Ola, and what kind of studies did you graduate from?

AK-N: Bachelor’s degree at the Silesian Medical University in Katowice, majoring in medical emergency. However, I gave up the service for the company. During the pandemic period, when everything moved to the internet, I focused on internet marketing. Now I’m in my final year of a master’s degree in physiotherapy at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow University. I am keen to use physiotherapy in the company as well. My dream is to create such a place for women where they can relax, take care of their beauty and buy a creation at the same time. All to make them forget about the world around for a while and focus solely on themselves.

It’s encouraging that you support each other in this way and have a nice mutual flow of energy. What fabrics do you use and where do you source them from?

DK: We were recently in Turkey and ordered fabrics, but they are more interested in wholesaling, while we don’t want to dress many people in the same fabric. Almost since the beginning of my company, I have been working with the Hindus. They produce top quality fabrics for Dubai clients. We have a barter arrangement: I do the designs of the clothes, and in return I get interesting fabrics, which they supply directly to me. The fabrics are produced in India on modern machines.

How long do you sew a dress?

DK: There is no rule, we care more about achieving perfection. If a mistake happens, we can start from scratch. Every detail counts. The standard is 2-3 fittings. Recently, ladies from Warsaw, Gdansk and Wroclaw came together for a weekend. They said we should open a hostel for customers. On Friday we would take one measure, another on Saturday, and then we would send the creations directly to the client.

Do you also have ladies with daughters popping-in?

AK-N: We have had a lot of such customers recently. We sewed a wedding dress for the bride, and a creation for her mother for a wedding and reception.

And you, Ola, do you sew your own outfits at your mum’s?

AK-N: When my mum was running the business herself, she could never find the time to do it. This year we only found time together to design and sew my wedding dress.

DK: Not true, I sewed her dresses for 26 years. I sewed her wedding dress too. I’ve never sewn anything for myself, and my husband complains that I don’t even want to shorten his trousers.

What’s in vogue at the moment?

DK: We have women coming to us who don’t really live for fashion, they go for classics and elegance. They usually want things to wear for years. Of course. there also happen extravagant creations, made of special materials, having eg. geometric patterns. The important thing is that the design brings out the beauty hidden in every woman and emphasises her assets – after all, that’s what they come to us for, „there’s a legend circulating – that we really do it right.” I don’t like to deform the body shape. Now we have prepared some creations for New Year’s Eve and for the carnival, such as a loose, casual and elegant jumpsuit. Any woman who puts it on is sure to impress and be a star.

From the left: Aleksandra Kuklińska-Nir, Danuta Kuklińska

I know you dress celebrities, women from the art world.

DK: I am very happy about that. I want to emphasise that every single one of our clients who comes to us is important and special.

AK-N: It does indeed happen that celebrities come to us. However, our aim is to make the woman we dress feel like a star – no matter if she’s a celebrity or not.

What are your upcoming plans?

AK-N: Last year I took part in a competition organised by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development (PARP) and I am currently starting to implement a project co-financed by European Funds involving digitization and increased efficiency of garment design and production processes. This is the introduction of a modern form of presentation of garment designs to the company, including the possibility of traversing it in the virtual world through the use of a virtual mannequin. A customer who now comes to us will have her own avatar created along with her figure measurements. She will then be able to choose a particular creation from our interactive 3D collection catalogue and see how she looks in it. I think that around January-March, we will already be able to invite customers to such a presentation. In addition, we also want to expand our Internet activities.

Danusia, what are you most proud of?

DK: Of my children. I am happy that my daughter wants to continue what I started. And I am happy that I have achieved my goal, that I have become a recognisable designer and brand. I have created my original style.

How do you relax when you finally find some time?

DK: I moved out of Krakow and found a place among the woods where I can enjoy the peace and quiet. I am an individualist and a kind of loner. I own 3 cats and 3 dogs; they give me a lot of positive energy. I take pleasure in contact with nature and family life.

What advice would you give women to feel special?

DK: I would advise them be themselves, to look for their own style. Every woman is different and requires a different outfit. If she puts on something that suits her, she will shine.