Polish Fashion

Jerzy Treutler

Warsaw Symbols

In socialist countries even the way citizens dressed was centrally regulated. The most important fashion show in the 50’s was the International Leipzig Fashion Fair, where Poland was represented by Jadwiga Grabowska. On her return, she managed to convince party dignitaries that fashion could be a leading brand of the Polish light industry. In 1958 the State Enterprise “Moda Polska” (Polish Fashion) was established, and Grabowska was appointed its artistic director.


Designers and tailors employed at “Moda Polska” created collections inspired by Western fashion trends, and the clothes made by “Moda Polska” quickly became a symbol of good taste and luxury, appreciated for their high quality, interesting designs and excellent finish. Unfortunately, exorbitant prices meant that very few Polish women could afford them. Other women – DIYers – imitated the style of “Moda Polska” with the use of sewing patterns for clothing available at fashion journals.


The company operated about 60 fashion stores and employed 2,000 people. The main fashion store was located at Rutkowskiego Street (nowadays Chmielna Street) in Warsaw.