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YOUNG DESIGNER AT THE HEART OF A RETAIL TREND CUSTOMIZES VINTAGE STYLE

Worn clothes with new concepts

A STYLISH boutique and second-hand clothing store, hidden in the streets of the Bratislava Old Town, on 1 Klariská, has sparked a local trend in clothing retail. Owned by Lucia Hejčíková, 24, and featuring her designs, the shop was opened two years ago with the name 1981.
Hejčíková cannot give any explanation of the meaning behind the store's name, as it was picked by a friend and "even he couldn't say why he picked it," she says.


HEJČÍKOVÁ models clothes of her own design.
photo: Courtesy of 1981

A STYLISH boutique and second-hand clothing store, hidden in the streets of the Bratislava Old Town, on 1 Klariská, has sparked a local trend in clothing retail. Owned by Lucia Hejčíková, 24, and featuring her designs, the shop was opened two years ago with the name 1981.

Hejčíková cannot give any explanation of the meaning behind the store's name, as it was picked by a friend and "even he couldn't say why he picked it," she says. The store is soon to be renamed LH after the owner and will get a new look. The overall function of the shop, however, will not change.

In the shop's two smaller rooms are racks that display second-hand clothes - many of which are altered, handmade ready-to-wear pieces, mostly women's skirts, dresses, pants, and tops. These rooms are wild with colour, fabric, and texture. Handmade bags adorn the multi-coloured walls, along with fabric butterflies pinned to the wall in mock insect collections.

Meanwhile, in Hejčíková's design and sewing studio, located to the right of the entrance in the shop's largest room, calm prevails. The light from the room's windows reflects off of the large white sewing table and the light hardwood floor. On a set of shelves, rolls of fabric sit in orderly stacks, their colours and textures subdued.

Hejčíková studied fashion design in Bratislava. She then worked in theatre and elsewhere for several years before opening her own store, which she says was not a hard task to do at all.

"I wanted to do this," she says; "in life, people have to do what they feel."


THE FRIENDLY atmoshpere at the boutigue makes customers feel at home.
photo: Courtesy of 1981

Aside from the steady daily traffic through the store, Hejčíková's success can be marked by the appearance of several stores with a similar look that offer used and customized used clothes. However, those stores do not custom-tailor clothes. One such store is just around the corner from 1981/LH. However, Hejčíková is not concerned.

The wide variety of the store's clientele is one of her business's strengths. In addition, she insists that at her store, people feel at home.

"Everyone comes here: men and women, old and young," she says. "When customers have something custom-made, they end up buying a few second-hand items as well."

Her assistant Mária Kvašňovská explains: "People come, sit down, have something to drink, and talk. They become our friends."

For her designs, Hejčíková says she uses her own ideas, as well as inspirations from magazines or from colleagues. In addition, customers can create their own designs.

"It's better when [customers] come with their own designs," she says. "The hardest jobs are those for people who don't know what they want."

When asked if the two seamstresses, Hejčíková and Kvašňovská, wear the clothes they make, the second says: "Of course; that's almost all we wear."

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