Interview and words: Joseph Kocharian
Most of us are still clinging on to our unfulfilled Gossip Girl and Sex and the City fantasies of moving to New York to live the fabulous life (the reboots of the aforementioned shows are only feeding that flight of fancy), but model Patryk Lawry seems to be living that dream, like a less problematic Emily from Emily in Paris.
Plucked from Police, a town in north-west Poland, in his teens, and whisked off to work in New York, the 23-year-old tells the Attitude September Style Issue - out now to download and to order globally - how his new environment allowed him to freely explore his sexuality, fall in love, and come out as pansexual to his parents back home.
"Living in my hometown back in Poland, it was always considered weird to play around with fashion", recalls Patryk.
"After moving to New York and being there for two and a half years, it made me feel more confident about myself. I can put something on that I feel comfortable in, whether that’s a woman’s or a man’s sweater… They’re only clothes, and these are labels that we’re putting onto them; it’s just material.
"New York gave me the freedom to explore that and my sexuality, and fashion helped a lot."
Patryk began dating his boyfriend just under a year ago and only came out to his parents in recent months - something he describes as being "a huge weight lifted from [his] shoulders".
Patryk Lawry wears Dior (Photography: Dean Ryan McDaid; Fashion director: Joseph Kocharian)
"My whole life I have been called gay, but also the worst words [that come with that]," he recalls.
"I was struggling with it for a long time. I wasn’t sure who I was. I am still exploring who I am — we all do that [for] our entire lives and figure out what we are here for and who we are.
"New York gave me that opportunity. I just wanted to be with the person I love, and it doesn’t matter who that is. That’s the most important part, to be in a relationship that helps you and [where] you’re there for each other."
Patryk Lawry wears Lanvin (Photography: Dean Ryan McDaid; Fashion director: Joseph Kocharian)
Conservative, Catholic Poland has been at the centre of a political storm in recent months over the existence of so-called 'LGBT-free zones', and while Patryk has received nothing but support from his own family, he knows that the reality for LGBTQ youth in his antive country is often very different.
"I’m very grateful to have support from family and my friends and really surrounding myself only with love", he says. "I’m very lucky to have that, because a lot of people don’t have that, especially in my country.
"There is so much misunderstanding of LGBTQ+ issues [in Poland], it’s crazy. I remember spending quarantine in New York and reading what was happening in Poland... It was hurtful to see all this misinformation spread about the community.
Patryk wears coat by Fendi; swimming trunks by CDLP, boots by Dsquared2 (Photography: Dean Ryan McDaid; Fashion director: Joseph Kocharian)
"I had always thought about when my parents knew [that I was pan], I was worried if they were going to support me or not, but at the same time, if they were going to, how was it going to affect them as well, to hear all the hurtful stuff [being said], and being surrounded by such a hateful environment."
Asked how things can change for Poland's queer community, Patryk replies simply: "I think it’s going to come down to the new generation."
See the full shoot and interview in the Attitude September Style Issue, out now.