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Make it last talks to Minna Palmqvist about changing our perceptions of the female body – and how fashion must change.

Photo: Märta Thisner

Minna Palmqvist is a one-of-a-kind talent in Swedish fashion, representing something different. Her design challenges our perceptions of the female body, disrupting our conceptions of what beauty is. Make it last talks to Minna Palmqvist about the ideas behind her designs, on how fashion is changing and why she did not showcase at this season’s fashion week.

Your design is about questioning and challenging perceptions of the female body. How does this show in your design?

– For me, that is the core of everything I do, though it is sometimes hardly visible to the viewer. It can be subtle cuts and lines in a garment making the garment adjust to the wearer’s body, paddings in places you are meant to hide, or a print of arrows indicating how to massage your body to keep it young, fit and free from cellulites. That last one is about showing all misogyn tips and tricks women are fed with everyday, saying that our bodies are products there to please an audience. Also I express this through art installations. I don’t separate my fashion from my art, it is all about the same thing. Like right now I am working on a project I call No Body, where I first made five tailor busts in shapes questioning our view on what is a female body in different ways, like a bunch of sculptures. Now I am using those busts as a tool in my making of garments.


No Body, Photo: Petter Cohen


Backstage spring 2015, Photo: Pi Frisk

What, in your opinion, are some of the major issues that fashion is facing today?

– Foremost, this industry really needs to step up it’s environmental responsibility game and stop pressing prices on behalf of poor workers in developing countries. I think the documentary The true cost should be shown in schools as part of basic education. Consumers do not know (or do not want to think about) how it comes that their clothes are so cheap. If it seems to cheap to be true, it is. Someone is paying with their lives.

 

– Then we have the issue with representation. Which bodies, colors and gender identities are allowed into the fashion system. Who do we see on the runway and on the covers of the magazines? I guess what it all comes down to is that the fashion business must stop being such an asshole.

Do you believe the fashion scene will change for the better within a near future?

– I need to believe that, or I can’t go on. I do see great positive movements now. A new fashion generation that will just not have it with this old greedy, excluding system. And I do think this new force is unstoppable. Though I am afraid it is going too slow. But yes. It will change. Together, we can do it!


Fall 2015 Campaign, Photo: Ceen Wahren

Is there a reason you chose not to do a show at Stockholm Fashion Week?

– I have shown in SFW three times, and in Amaze twice. I choose my platform to show on time after time. After location, what I want to show etc. This season I chose to take a break from seasonal collections, hopefully never to really return to it. So I didn’t show, because there was nothing to show. I have never believed in the season system, but I have forced myself into it to be acknowledged in the world of fashion. Now that I “exist”, I want to take a step back, look over my practice; like, why am I doing this and how could it be done in a more organic way that is not killing my creativity and my overall well-being? Releasing two big blocks a year (and that is little, I know) is just not reasonable for a one-person brand. I still want to be part of showing my work in relevant fashion system platforms, such as fashion weeks, since I believe change has to be done from within the system you want to change. But, I don’t want the work I am showing to necessarily be released as one unity. Hehe, that was a bit complicated to explain. But shortly; I am hoping to find a more organic work flow from now on.


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