The idea of a store dedicated to men’s clothing hasn’t been widely considered yet in Gdynia. This is what Michal Malinowski sought to change at the end of 2017. After two months of hard work and without a break in December, DRYFT was born. I met up with Michal to get more insights on this magical place, where carefully selected items and brands create a timeless style and form a coherent whole with the interior.
What is the DRYFT?
Created from a place of passion, DRYFT offers timeless classic men's fashion, good design, and inspiration of the oversea nature. It's a store directed to men who make knowingly choices. Carefully selected products are distinguished by attention to detail, the high quality of materials, thoughtful design, and craftsmanship. But the DRYFT is more than a store. Here you talk about your passion, drink good coffee, and (we hope!) feel the comfort of your home.
What motivated you to create your own store?
Many initiatives in Tricity are an inspiration, including the A City Made By People events where I had the opportunity to listen to amazing stories about people’s passions and lives. Their enthusiasm and ideas gave me the courage and motivation to create something of my own.
Below your logotype is the signature of Gdynia. Wherever I look, I see a reference to this city and a strong connection with the sea. Is there a story behind it?
The fact that the store is from Gdynia is not accidental. I want my store to identify with this city, I want everything that's here to make sense. That is why Gdynia is in the name.
For me, Gdynia has a sentimental overtone. I was born here. I left later to study, to work in UK and Spain. I was inspired from what I've seen over several years. London, Amsterdam, Berlin, there are so many men's shops there. Then I was in Warsaw for two years and returned to Gdynia. I was drawn to the proximity of the sea, which gives you an open mind, old friends, connections with design - Gdynia Design Days and modernism. For me, it was only natural that DRYFT was brought up in Gdynia. Only here I could catch a full breath.
How do you choose the products of your store?
The products in my store must meet several aspects of my criteria. There must be a story behind it, a passion from the creator, a mission. Paying attention to the materials and having an eco-friendly way of production. It can't just be a thing manufactured at the factory. It’s important to me that things are durable. Thanks to that, we’ll be able to enjoy them for a long time, which is quite economical. You buy things less often because they don't damage so quickly. I’d like to reduce the negative impact of industry and consumerism on the natural environment.
In addition to clothes, you also have other items for sale. Can you tell me about them?
I have a retro bike mounted in the Tri-City by Baltica Bicycles, a handcrafted bag manufactured by Fango in a small factory in Poland, a skateboard, a wonderful calendar created by an illustrator working in Gdańsk - Zuza Gadomska/Ogarnij Miasto and maps, which I love designed by Zorki Factory. Everything was created locally in Poland. As soon as I see something that I personally like and I know that it would appeal to my clients, I want to offer it. It doesn't have to be just clothing.
On the wall is a surfboard. Is it yours?
Yes. I've been surfing for many years. I wore shorts and t-shirts, but then I discovered this passion for men's fashion. I began to dress in a different way. However, it was in my heart. On a daily basis, I like to have a timeless, well-designed style. For me, water is fun and passion. Creating my place I'd like to pour my passions further.
Your store is in a great location with huge old windows, close to Świętojańska, the main street in Gdynia, but at the same time away from the bustle of the street. In this beautiful combination, I also see Gdynia's modernism. How did you find such a unique place?
I'm glad that you associate it with Gdynia's modernism. I was looking for a while but in fact, this place was waiting for me. I saw it before I came up with the idea to create something.
As I was entering the space, there was still furniture from the previous pharmacy that operated here for several years. The first thing to do was to throw everything out. I even demolished one wall! I didn't want to litter the surroundings and my store with mannequins or large red stickers on the windows with a ‘SALE’ sign. You might think that being blatant and dappled, our goal is to attract your attention, but there is so much in the city that if something is subdued, it suddenly becomes something flashy. What has become an abstraction! I’ve no idea how we’ve came to this moment.
I also wanted to demolish more here to have an open space, but the owner didn't agree. I'm happy that he wouldn’t let me. Thanks to this, I have such an intimate corner with these fitting rooms.
I noticed that you left the marble tiles.
At the beginning, I wanted to break them up and pour out the minimalist concrete. But my father said they’re great! In the end, they are marble and it would be a shame to get rid of them. So I decided to leave it. Each person pays attention to them because they have their own story.
On the other hand, in the fitting room was linoleum. Well, I said - I take it off! Then it turned out that there are wooden boards underneath. I also decided to take off them in the hope that there will be concrete. But to my surprise and joy, it turned out that there is terrazzo at the bottom! For me, this is treasure because terrazzo is something that can be seen in all modernist houses in Gdynia. This is something beautiful.
When you enter it you can feel the breath and the extraordinary detail and diligence in the performance. Are the furniture also designed by you?
Yes. I knew from the beginning that I want to design furniture myself, something I can't buy in a store. Such style, materials. I created the whole interior with the help of my father. I wanted the furniture to be made locally in Gdynia. For example, the bookcase was made in 4 or 5 places in Gdynia. However, some furniture I did find through advertising. For example, the Danish couch in the fitting room. A solid piece of furniture that will last several decades.
I love how your store combination your passions. You can say that the store is a reflection of your soul.
Well said! (smile) If you have a vision and it is successful, this is the best thing that can happen to you.
Thank you Michał for the interview. And good luck!
Words & Pictures by Adrian Chudek
What unique insights to the men's clothing scene in Gdynia, much like our take on some creative fashion designers in Issue 2 of A City Made By People, called Artists in Residence. Come check it out!