Julia Janus’ collage for the childhood city of Kaunas
Photo: Kamilė Rimkutė
A cultured lady with a hat and modern sunglasses – this was the image that designer Julia Janus decided to decorate a T-shirt for Kaunas with. She is working on a project – collage of Lithuanian cities. These T-shirts became a sort of a representative uniform for public institution Kaunas IN when participating in events that present the city or during trips to international exhibitions.
The designer admits that she admires the people, architecture and restaurants of Kaunas, which is also her childhood holiday city. Today, the warm connection with Kaunas is strengthened by one of the most successful JULIA JANUS brand stores located in the city.
Julia’s individual and creative look at Kaunas was one of the reasons why public institution Kaunas IN chose her T-shirts. It is not only an opportunity to carry a part of Kaunas with you anywhere you go but also an occasion to once again highlight and boost initiatives that help instill the city into the creative process of artists.
Interview with designer Julia Janus about how this idea came to life and her relationship with Kaunas and its residents.
Where is Julia Janus currently living? Are there any changes or new directions in your work? What projects are you immersed in, and what is your energy focused on currently?
JULIA JANUS is undergoing renovation. During this year, the brand will focus on online sales. We are narrowing down the range of our models and will be welcoming other brands to our online and physical shops. The brands belong to Baltic designers who create comfortable minimalist fashion and accessories that go with it.
We design sustainable and slow fashion. It is Baltic, body-friendly and minimalist. It’s a fashion full of symbols, designed with unique identity in mind. JULIA JANUS is a significant phenomenon in Lithuanian design, which has created a unique trend of Lithuanian design.
Tell us about the cities on T-shirts project. How is Kaunas depicted in it and why?
Last summer I started working on the collages of Lithuania’s largest cities. I wanted to use them to decorate the T-shirts I had designed. I decided to connect the cities with different types of people to personalize their atmospheres. I posted a question on social network: what kind of person do you associate Kaunas with? Is it a man or a woman? What age, character? People became really involved in this request and participated actively. When the answers stopped, I chose the most recurrent description of Kaunas – an older, cultured lady with a hat. I chose the portrait with modern, stylish glasses and decorated her head with the Church of St. Gertrude. Kaunas central post office – a symbol of the modernist architecture of Kaunas – appeared in the background. This is how the collage of Kaunas city was born that later ended up on women’s and men’s T-shirts.
When communicating the concept of JULIA JANUS, you often emphasize two seemingly distant poles – Baltic culture and urban culture. How much of this Baltic culture do you find in Kaunas?
Kaunas is a crossroad. The city seems like a meeting point of all cultures. Incidentally, two largest Lithuanian rivers meet in Kaunas, just like the oceanic climate meets the terrestrial one, south meets north, water meets sand and hills meet hollows.
What is your own relationship with Kaunas?
Kaunas is the city of my childhood holidays. I was a very happy child in my grandfather’s house and a large garden in Vilijampolė. Kaunas occupies a special place in my heart. I love it very much and I admire its people, hills, architecture, textiles, and lately – restaurants.
And how does Kaunas appreciate the aesthetics and concept of Julia Janus? Do you have loyal customers among Kaunas residents?
The shop located in Kaunas, Akropolis, is one of the most successful JULIA JANUS shops. It has a wonderful team in love with JULIA JANUS fashion. The team managed to attract Kaunas’ customers and created a loyal fan club, the members of which keep coming back to our store.