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Celebrating the Style of the ČSSR

Published on March 28th, 2013 in Interviews

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Adriana Zavodska Oravec-Mičova is the brilliant force behind one of my favorite on-line places, Socík Style. Zavodska’s blog, which pays homage to “Everyday Life, Art and Design in Czechoslovakia from the 1950’s to the 1980’s,” features loads of wonderfully retro photos along with fascinating historic notes on the clothes, cuisine, and culture of the ČSSR. (The blog is in Slovak but reads perfectly well in Google translate.) As such things are a personal passion of mine, I was thrilled that Adriana agreed to an interview.

 

 

KF: What inspired Socík Style?

AZ: Ten years ago, I started collecting antiques from Czechoslovakia. It occurred to me that what I was doing mattered because Czechoslovak-made goods were disappearing from our lives. So, in addition, I began collecting documents and photos and researching the era.

 

KF: When did you start the blog?

AZ: Though I had collected the materials for many years before, it wasn’t until 2010 that I finally decided to document my findings with a blog.

 

KF: I hope this isn’t a rude question, but how old are you?

AZ: Let’s just say that I will walk this earth for awhile longer...

 

KF: Does your profession somehow relate to the site?

AZ: My job is unrelated to my site. But that’s about to change!

 

KF: You post really amazing photos. What’s your source?

AZ: My own personal archive, mainly, though family and friends contribute images, too.

 

KF: Do you collect all the items you photograph?

AZ: No, but for several years now I have collected documents from this period.

 

KF: Are things from the Socialist-era in as high demand in Slovakia as they are here?

AZ: People are definitely interested in the design and architecture of the era. For the young ones it’s fashionable. For we middle-aged folks it’s more about nostalgia.

 

KF: Czech hipsters have a thing for Botas sneakers. What’s all the retro-cool rage there?

AZ: “Botasky” have, of course, enjoyed a return in Slovakia, but here people mostly crave childhood sweets (Horalky, Kofila, Milena), drinks (Kofola, Vinea), and toys (by Igráček, Libuše Niklová, Merkur).

 

KF: Of all the posts you’ve written, which are favorites?

AZ: Posts on Czechoslovakian drugstore cosmetics, children’s books, shoes, and, of course, architecture and interiors—for which I’ve created a second blog, Interiéry a exteriéry ČSSR.

 

KF: Which posts have been the most popular?

AZ: Articles on Socialist sweets, food, and Christmas memories have gotten a big response.

 

KF: What will foreigners who visit Socík Style find most interesting about it?

AZ: I suppose they’ll find my page exotic. And probably hard to relate to because they didn’t live in that system, but fun nonetheless. Especially the design and architecture posts.

 

KF: What would you include on a Socík Style tour of Slovakia?

AZ: Foreigners are always fascinated by brutalist architecture so, in Bratislava, check out the Petržalka Settlment, PRIOR Department Store, SNP bridge (with UFO restaurant on top), and the Slavín memorial. Farther afoot, Hotel Patria in the High Tatras.

 

KF: Do you really miss anything from the Socialist era? If so, what?

AZ: I really miss sweets and drinks that were not so processed. And, like most people, things from my youth such as toys, pioneer camp, school holidays, clothes, and shops.

 

KF: Were you surprised by the success of your blog?

AZ: I was suprised that most people knew nothing about the products we used every day. They weren’t so attraticve to us then. Now it’s the opposite, now they are unique. Over time people idealize things. Socialism was once a beautiful idea, afterall!

 

http://socikstyle.blogspot.cz/

 

 

 

 

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