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Lee Photoshoot English Way - Szputnyik Pieces

Sára Kovács is studying fashion communication in England. As part of a university project, she collaborated with Lee on a fashion photoshoot using some Szputnyik Vintage pieces.

Which university are you studying at and why did you choose this course?

I am currently studying Fashion Communication and Styling at De Montfort University in England. It has been a long journey to find this course and my true interests and skills. There has been a special bond between me and clothes since I was a little girl and this bond has not changed at all. Fashion has been with me all my life, I have done several school assignments on the subject, I have been an intern with fashion designer Márta Makány, who has been mentoring me since the beginning, and with stylist Hajnalka Bognár, so I have had the opportunity to gain insight into the profession. The problem was that I didn't really feel comfortable with either designing or styling, but I couldn't really articulate what I was looking for. That's when Márta suggested I was looking for universities in England, which I didn't have much motivation for at the time, but after a short search I found my current profession, which I fell in love with at first sight.

What exactly is fashion communication and why did you choose this programme?

I often have trouble defining this precisely and briefly. I would describe it as the visual and creative part of marketing. We get a brief and we have to come up with our own concept and response in a way that meets the stipulations in the brief. We've done a lot of magazines, lookbooks, small fashion films, editorial shoots, but we've also had to do installations, exhibitions, websites and social media accounts. Everything we do in these platforms is based on considered and thoughtful decisions to communicate a message from styling to the last letter. The aim is always to accurately convey the message the brand or person wants to convey to the target audience and potential customers, which is the essence of fashion communication.

What really appeals to me is its complexity and the freedom to move around in it. I can try myself in a lot of different things and it's entirely up to me which one I choose to focus on. For example, I have a good eye for photography, and my skills in directing and storytelling are promising.

Why did you choose the clothes from Szputnyik, what did you like about it?

Szputnyik was already considered one of the coolest vintage shops when I was in high school and they haven't lost that reputation to this day. When I was looking for clothes, I was specifically looking for the Lee brand. Vintage shops seemed like a good place to start, and I got the expected results, because as soon as I typed the brand name into Szputnyik's online search, I got several hits, luckily. When I went to get the shirts I looked around to see if I could find anything else that might fit my concept. That's how I found most of my cowboy character's outfit, the beautiful light leather western boots and the wide braided belt, which turned out to be a wonderful addition to the set. Great stuff to get at Szputnyik, and the endless kindness and helpfulness I experienced during the whole process of taking the clothes was wonderful. Customer experience 10/10.

What was the mood of the photoshoot?

It had a great atmosphere, as it usually happens with me. I had to warm up a bit at the beginning because it was a bit chilly outside, but my models were very well behaved and did a great job, especially since I was working with non-professionals. It wasn't easy with the horses, I had to make friends with them and be very attentive to them, they are sensitive animals, but that was really the whole point of my concept: to connection. Which I think I achieved during the shoot.

What role do you think second-hand clothes play in the fashion industry?

I think that second-hand clothes will play an increasingly important role, or already do. As most of us know, the fashion industry produces an enormous amount of waste just from leftovers from tailoring and from clothes that are no longer worn and not sold. It is estimated that by 2030, 134 million tonnes of textiles will end up in landfills every year, most of it from discarded clothes that are not used. So vintage and secondhand shops play an extremely important role in keeping clothes in the system for longer, and the importance of this will only increase. It is also a rewarding thing for all designers and home sewing enthusiasts to work from something old and give new meaning and life to a garment. I also think we should appreciate more what is around us and instead of throwing it away, we should look for ways to repair them.

What are your favourite vintage brands?

It's hard to pick any of them, because the great thing about them is that you can find something new everywhere and you never know where you'll find what you're looking for. I really appreciate and prefer the ones where it's quick and easy to find what you're looking for online, so again, I'd just mention Szputnyik. But if I'm looking for something for myself these days, my grandmother's and mother's closet is the biggest vintage find.

How did the collaboration with the Lee brand come about, and how do they feel about you using second-hand Lee stuff and not new?

This project was part of a university project. We often receive real briefs, with the aim of preparing us for real life and not to be surprised when we receive a new assignment. THis Lee project was one of them, where Lee wanted to promote their new sustainability collection and their environmental efforts to Generation Z with a specific focus on diversity and inclusivity. As we had to provide and source the clothes ourselves, it was a little more difficult, as Lee has no independent brand stores in Hungary and only two in the UK. For this reason, I had to source the pieces from different places. By the way, Lee takes sustainability quite seriously. I don't think they are a brand who are interested in making you buy something new every week, and this is reflected in their prices. For this reason, I think they don't mind using second-hand clothes, as that is all part of their history. But again, I think it just shows that they really do produce top quality if their clothes are still almost flawless after all these years and can stand up to new collections.

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