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January 25, 2013

Made in Michigan, inspired abroad

Warren resident’s “Recultured Designs” offers contemporary spin on folk clothing

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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Made in Michigan, inspired abroad
Alexandra Lisiecki, of Warren, said her “Recultured Designs” are unique, handmade and created to blend touches of history and folk culture with contemporary style.

FARMINGTON HILLS — Alexandra Lisiecki is in love with her Polish heritage. She enjoys both the country’s history and its culture.

But when she went to Poland, the last thing she wanted to come home with was a run-of-the-mill souvenir T-shirt or some tacky trinkets.

The feeling inspired her to create Recultured Designs, a business dedicated to developing clothing that combines traditional cultural elements, such as patterns and colors with contemporary style. 

Working with her mother, whose family’s tailoring roots go back at least three generations in Poland, Lisiecki created the first dress last year in their Farmington Hills workshop.  

“I was always looking for a new way to express my Polish heritage. It’s kind of hard to wear a folk costume or T-shirts,” said Lisiecki, 31, a lifelong resident of Warren who attended grade school at Immaculate Conception. “We pretty much made our first dress. There was just such a positive reaction to that, we decided to continue.”

Lisiecki said Recultured Designs officially became a business two months later.

She said the dresses generated a buzz when she went back to Poland last summer.

“We did our first photo shoot. The reaction in Poland was huge,” Lisiecki said. “People were stopping us in the streets, saying, ‘Where did you get these dresses or purses?’”

Recultured Designs launched a website in October and Lisiecki and her mother have been busy in the workshop creating an inventory of unique handmade dresses, tops, shirts and accessories.

Bolts of fabric brought to the United States from Poland provide the traditional patterns for the dresses.

Lisiecki said lace or other items are sometimes even refashioned from vintage dresses to create her own custom cultural designs.

Evonne Szydlowski, of Ray Township, 27, said she’s known Lisiecki for years in the region’s Polish community. As someone who is also proud of her Polish heritage, she said she jumped at the chance to try on, purchase and later model clothing made by Recultured Designs.

“This is just another avenue for me to express my roots and my background,” Szydlowski said. “I own two dresses and a top. It definitely lets you express that Polish heritage with a modern fashionable twist.

“I think she’s very talented. The time spent on it, it creates a lot of awe. For her to build on that talent and follow her dream and aspirations, it’s awesome,” Szydlowski said.

Lisiecki said Recultured Designs is working to expand its offerings beyond the culture of Poland. They’ve already made a Ukrainian dress and a necklace inspired by traditional Finnish designs.

“The whole concept is to get people interested in their heritage. We not only want to focus on Polish culture. We’re branching off into other cultures, as well,” Lisiecki said.

Appointments can be made to try on Recultured Designs dresses, available in sizes up to 20.

The company also sells belts and purses, and T-shirts for men and women — all inspired by centuries of cultural history.

To view, purchase, or inquire more about Recultured Designs products visit www.recultureddesigns.com, send email to contact@recultureddesigns.com, or visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Recultured Designs

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.