Minna Palmqvist








Minna Palmqvist launched her own label in 2009, which was a continuation of her Masters project “Intimately Social” at art college, Konstfack, in Stockholm. Since her Masters project, Minna has sustained her main focus, to seek out and explore the dilemma around woman body fixation and today’s warped ideals of female “perfection”.

 Minna uses the influence of Fashion as a catalyst for change. Through her label, she threads her own by linking fashion with art, whilst challenging us to look deeper when discussing ideals and trends.

 “The female body is not yours to judge” – Minna Palmqvist

Tell us a bit about yourself and background?

I grew up in Åland, an autonomous Finnish island between Sweden and Finland. Not much of a fashion scene there, but lots of music and cultural events. So even though I had no idea fashion was even something that existed outside the pages of the glossy magazines, I was involved in art classes for kids, singing, playing various instruments and writing my own books. When I landed in the world of fashion, I felt I had found my true creative expression. I have a bachelors degree in clothes making from Turku in Finland, and a Masters degree from the textile department at Konstfack here in Stockholm.

How would you define your outlook on fashion?

It is quite complex. It is love and hate, to use a worn-out expression. I am often spellbound by the magic worlds one can create with clothes and other body adornments. I also strongly believe in the empowering effects of style and fashion  on a person’s life—like a tool to take  power over the presentation of oneself. But on the other hand, I am not at all impressed by the fast tempo the business is working by, nor the way fashion often treats the body as something you can change every season; as an object that needs to be altered to please others. But it is these mixed feelings that are my biggest inspiration and are what keep me going. I am very much interested in contradictions generally.

Your SS15 collection is about the complex clash between a REAL female body and media portrayals of the female body – Why do you think this is still very much a current problem in our society, and how do you go about this as a designer working in a very body-fixated industry?

Not only my SS15 collection, but all of my work finds its starting point in these problems. The answer as to why the female body keeps on being treated as an object there to please others, is that we live in a patriarchal world where the beauty industry is used to diminish women and make girls believe the most important thing in life is to be pretty. This is then of course linked to the capitalist ideal, to keep people chasing perfection by consuming beauty products. It is not purely a fashion problem, it is a social construction problem. The fact that I work with this topic from inside the fashion business feels like a much more preferred standpoint, then just standing on the outside hoping it will change.

What are the daily challenges you face working creatively?

Constantly weighing time and money against each other. There is always a lack of one of those two, and very often both at the same time. I find it very lonely and tough to build up a fashion company in Sweden today. Lots of people and press are interested, and are being extremely supportive, which gives me so much energy to carry on. But when it comes to getting help with building one’s ideas into a solid company, I feel that kind of support is still much needed.

Looking into the future – how would you like Minna Palmqvist develop, creatively and as a business?

I would like Minna Palmqvist to develop into a creative platform for fashion, where art projects, show pieces and ready-to-wear clothing can blend together into a world of its own. This dream would of course include being able to hire a team of dedicated professionals within economy, logistics, buying, pattern making and so on and so on. I have no dreams of making lots of money, but I dream of earning enough for me and a small team to make a living out of this.

What are the pros and cons being a Stockholm-based designer?

Pros are the network of artists I have here. The cons are the lack of any sort of fashion infrastructure.

In a fast moving fashion industry what would you like to communicate as a designer and artist?

That fashion is so much more than shopping and trends. I wish to communicate the view that fashion is an art form very suitable for discussing contemporary social issues, and that by making conscious choices in the way we consume our clothes, we can and will change the business from a fast-spinning circus to a playful field of creativity and longevity, something like that..

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