Ascher Challenge - project by Studio of Fashion Design
Created: 21. 3. 2019 from Vysoká škola uměleckoprůmyslová v Praze

Ascher Challenge


March 28th - May 19th, 2019
Vernissage: Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 at 6:30 pm

Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, 17. listopadu 2, Praha 1


Following the large exhibition titled “The Mad Silkman: Zika & Lída Ascher: Textile and Fashion Design" that was held at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague and dedicated to the Ascher family, the UMPRUM Studio of Fashion Design received a unique opportunity to design their own collection using fabrics produced by the famous Ascher textile company. The Fashion design students gave the original fabrics and designs new forms of processing from the point of view of contemporary young people.

 Zika Ascher opened a luxury clothing shop with his brother in Prague in 1933, but in March 1939 he and his wife were forced to leave for London. From the 1940s to the 1980s they supplied exclusive materials for leading French and English fashion houses (eg Balenciaga, Chanel, Dior) and collaborated with leading artists (Henry Moore, Cecil Beaton, Henry Matisse, Barbara Hepworth, and Alexander Calder) concurrently throughout his entire life he enjoyed cooperating with students and young people. Already in 1946, he launched the "Try Your Hand" competition, in which around ten thousand young people participated. That is why the exhibition curator Konstantina Hlaváčková has connected the head of the Studio of Fashion Design Pavel Ivančic with the descendants of this family and a unique collaboration has been created. 

The public was able to get acquainted with selected designs in January at this year's Winter 2019 Artsemestr exhibition of semester and final projects, as well as at the opening of the exhibition at UPM. It will be possible to see how individual models look on the human figure at the fashion show, which is part of the Mercedes-Benz Prague Fashion Week program on Sunday, March 24, in the Kotva department store. Students from the UMPRUM Fashion Design studio will present their rare and detailed collection for the project “Ascher Challenge” in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague from March 28th to May 19th. 

The Ascher Challenge show will also be accompanied by an exhibition catalog. Photographs of individual models were prepared by students of the new Studio of Photography II under the leadership of Václav Jirásek and Štěpánka Stein. The graphic design style was produced by Jakub Hojgr, Matěj Vojtuš, and Tuan Vuong Trong.



Although the Ascher company is no longer active, their heirs, Peter, and Robin Ascher have chosen a variety of fabrics from their archives - flexible cotton satin, twill weave, silk scarves, silk satin, fine cloth and a variety of different printed cotton fabrics. Students received textiles from different time periods, materials and designs. Each of the 25 young designers had the task of preparing their own collection, processing original fabrics with respect to their own unique design. In addition, they were also tasked with integrating modern technologies, while fully respecting fabrics and copyrights. 

Despite the initial enthusiasm, it turned out to be a complex assignment that set different limits. But students took on the assignment with vigor. It was certainly a strong motivation for them to be able to work with such unique fabrics as well as to meet and consult with Ascher's son Peter and his wife Robin,” states the head of the studio Pavel Ivančic regarding the intensive semester project. 

From the individual collections, Karolína Liberová's project, for example, leans toward a more free approach. The foundation of Karolína's designs used patterns from car seat covers. She combined black velvet, twill with prints and sketches by Henry Moore, and as a result, created an alternative to the elegant formal dress.    

Julie Doležalová, once again, worked with the principal of collage which was also used by Czech artist Jiří Kolář. She cut the fabrics into strips, unfolded, interconnected them, and was able to capture collage in the form of fashion. Another approach taken by Barbora Kotěšovcová, who was inspired by the morphology of flower motifs and transformed her dress into a flower shape. 

For me, I can say that this is the largest and most extensive collection in the history of my studio. It was a very ambitious assignment, but the students did not disappoint and for me alone I have a very strong motivation to continue these kinds of projects." As Pavel Ivančic summarizes the successful project.

The development of the project and the exhibition can also be followed on Instagram at the Studio of Fashion Design @fashiondesignstudio_umprum 


The project was supported by the British embassy under the #STOLET program since its opening in Thun Palace in Prague and under the patronage of Ambassador Nick Archer, students were granted a fashion show.


A special thanks belongs to Peter and Robin Ascher and Konstantina Hlaváčková.



Designer / project curator: Pavel Ivančic

Assistant Curator: Lenore Jurkyová

Pedagogical leadership: Pavel Ivančic, Alice Klouzková

Exhibiting designers: Tatiana Piussi, Linda Vondrášková, Julie Doležalová, Tatiana Dvořáková, Vanda Ivica Jandová, Sára Michailidisová, Nataliya Grimberg, Barbora Kotěšovcová, Anna Tran, Martina Lhotová, Sára Sedlaková, Markéta Kaplanová, Jakub Patka, Mikuláš Brukner, Jan Grabowski, Karolína Liberová, Martin Franček, Cindy Kutíková, Jakub Hojgr, Aleftina Karasyova
Architectural design of the exhibition: Tomáš Rachunek, Jakub Mendel

Graphic Design: Jakub Hojgr, Matej Vojtuš, Tuan Vuong Trong

Photograghy: Students of the Studio of Photography II under the leadership of Václav Jirásek and Štěpánka Stein