The London-based designer tells AnOther about the woman who taught her to take life's struggles in her stride
“My superhero is my mum, she’s the strongest person I’ve known. She was ill for many years with cancer but she enjoyed life and taught me to enjoy mine. Death became a normal part of our lives because being at the hospital was normal, where she’d often get bad results. But we’d just get on with the day. We’d make jokes about her dying, which was helpful because in the very worst situations we’d laugh. Now I’m not scared of death anymore. Before her first cancer, she was the perfect mother and wife. Afterwards, she decided, ‘Fuck that, I’m not doing the dishes, I have better things to do.’ Four years ago, we buried her under a cherry tree on a nice summer’s day. We had balloons and white lilies. We played How Deep is Your Love by the Bee Gees, her favourite (not Staying Alive!), and I read her a letter. I can’t wait to be a mother because I learnt so much from her, and I felt so much love.”
Death is a part of life for everyone. For Marta Jakubowski it also became a part of her living. Between the ages of 14 and 27, her mother was diagnosed with four cancers, surviving three, but succumbing to the last. In death, Marta’s mother taught her how to live, that to be happy and kind to people were the most important endeavours. For her Spring/Summer 2017 collection, her fourth to be sponsored by NewGen since graduating from the Royal College of Art MA in Womenswear Design, death was present. Not as grief or heaviness, but a gentle yielding to the coming and going of life, a lightness in the changing of the seasons, both in nature and in people.
Hair Maarit Niemela at Bryant Artists using Bumble and Bumble; Make-up Jenny Coombs at Streeters using NARS Cosmetics; Styling assistants Rebecca Perlmutar, Marta Martinez Regidor; Make-up assistant Porsche Poon; Post-production Labyrinth Photographic; Production Mini Title; Special thanks to Clapton Tram.
This article originally appears in AnOther Magazine S/S17.