01/23/2014 12:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Joanna Staniszki Creates Fine Art Fashions Spun From Cocoons

By Nancy Chuda founder and Editor in Chief of LuxEcoLiving and co-founder of Healthy Child Healthy World

"All that is authentic and true to one's spirit offers a magic antidote to the sea of sameness that floods this world....Thenticau."

Courtesy of Thenticau



Very few fashion designers understand the impact of nature. Most are trendy. Appealing to massive and imitative markets that require material and finish work done on the cheap, mostly made in China, with little or no respect for labor. Instead profit gleams for income earned.

American fashion has become a sugar bowl. Cheap and affordable. Guided by Android's Barcode perceptibility today's fashionista can bank on "garment perishability. In today and out tomorrow.

Meet Joanna Staniszkis a Canadian textile artist whose exhibitions draw critical acclaim. Educated at the Fine Arts Academy in Poland and at the School of Chicago Art Institute, her passion as an Associate Professor in Design and Textile Design is to teach and inspire.

Her palate is cross-cultural. Her techniques are original and the use of materials unconventional. She embeds nature through photographic images of cloth and fibres. Uses natural dyes on linen and is now embellishing what mother nature does best. In a perfect collaboration she has created The Silk Project.

The Silk Show was her invention. A poignant and beautiful, representation of the life cycle of the ephemeral silkworm and the 900 feet of durable protein fiber that have been extracted by the Chinese and Japanese from each cocoon for thousands of years. The Silk Road gave birth to this oxymoron. Beauty is cruelty.

Staniszkis recently ended her 36 years of teaching textiles at the University of B.C. Two months ago, she came to her "senses," as she tells a friend. Later she modifies that. "I loved teaching but it was taking me farther and farther away from what I wanted to do, which is this."

Her latest project is a multi-collaborative effort called Thenticau. A brilliant and synergistic group of designers who share an aesthetic for originality and integrity but whose credo and philosophy is authenticity. Coming from the perspective that original fashions were hand crafted, one of a kind, garments that distinguished individuality rather than sameness... this design collective promises to entice intelligence, beauty, and oneness instead of fashions calamity of choices that veer far from self-expression better to be missed then celebrated.

Joanna Staniszki's designs will be showcased in February at the Gansevoort launch

Thenticau's genius stems from one of its founders Susan Riedweg. We had a conversation about the collaborative.

NGC- What inspired you to change the face of the fashion industry as we know it today?

SR- Thenticau, a play on the word authentic, developed out of a like mindedness of product and spirit I wanted to get out of the crowd, out of the predictable show venues and offer my customers the same quality of ambiance as of product......unique, energizing and fresh. The location of the Gansevoort Meatpacking, the neighborhood, restaurants and High Line, as well as the hotel itself stepped out of that redundant box.

Thenticau designers will showcase here in the Meatpacking district of New York's High Line

NGC- Your philosophy is unique in that your designs are benefiting people of need. Tell me about your desire to help orphaned children in Haiti?

In wanting to showcase designers who embrace authenticity and integrity I also wanted to share a spirit of reciprocity. Our first official fund raiser was a collection of handcrafted sandals, Thenticausoles, designed by Sarah Cavender and Susan Riedweg where all the profits go to Serepta Orphanage in Haiti. Ultimately we would like for all the designers to contribute by developing a special product using lingering lots of materials in yet unrealized designs.

Courtesy of LuxEcoLiving

Relationship building, something I learned to be of utmost importance in Haiti, is at the very core of Thenticau. It is a long process that is very rewarding, just as are the efforts to fund the orphanage in Haiti. Seeing our designers' new collections and buyer reactions of course are of course exciting aspects of our show as well, and our cooperative spirit helps encourage this.

NGC-Thenticau is now a budding philosophy "the art of collective collaboration," this must be very rewarding to see your efforts materialize.

Courtesy of Thenticau Design Collaborative

SR-When I first did my "Solo Plunge" at the Gansevoort many years ago I did not intend for Thenticau to materialize. Slowly interest from other designers ensued and quite organically we grew into a small collective. We seemingly shared the same frustrations with the shows and wanted to offer something lovely to our customers that echoed our very work. Word of mouth brought not only designers but buyers to our show, and we continue to implement new ideas to keep it fresh.

NGC- Tell us about the launch in February?

SR- We will be launching our first Penthouse presentation at the Gansevoort. The designers will be in the two story suite with their collections placed and staged by our team. We will showcase the fall 2014 collections over a splendid view of the Meatpacking from 31 feet windows with a warming fire in the background. We will serve Thenticocktails from 6:30-9:30p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22nd to our buyers during our working opening night. Monday, the 23rd and Tuesday, the 24th we will continue the show from 10a.m.-8p.m. As we go forward we intend to show the collective in both LA during the European market as well as in our upcoming pop-up stores with the expertise of our retail advisor, Terri Vizzone.

If your looking to step out of the box... go for something new and discover the High Line of fashion in your soul.

Editor's Notes:

Joanna Staniszkis designs will be a part of this launch in February. To learn more about Susan Riedweg visit their website here.