Interview with Tonje Plur
What is fashion?
Fashion is diverse and ranges from the commercial to the artistic. To me fashion can be described as textile art shaped as clothes and presented on bodies.
Describe your personality
I like to be alone, but also enjoy being with people. That is contradictory, I know, but I guess that’s how I am.
How did you get your start with fashion?
It kind of just happened. I’ve always been interested in tactility and crafts, so making textiles and clothes seemed like the only natural thing to do.
Where do you gather inspiration?
I’m inspired by the people, life, surroundings and communities around me. Either I am part of it, or observe it up close.
What Gets You Out of Bed In The Morning?
The alarm. The best ideas come to me in the evening, which results in me working late at night.
Tell us about a moment in your career that really meant something to you?
My first show last August. That was the start of all the exciting things that happened later.
Do you have a mission with your design?
I want the collections to act as a visual voice. I want to create something other people can experience, whether they are the audience or the person wearing the clothes.
What is the process like for you when creating?
The process is chaotic and intuitive. It starts with a blurred idea of what the outcome will be. It’s like a blurry inner picture that you can't see, you can only sense it. So my job is to translate this feeling into textiles and make it visible. I almost never sketch. I always start by making the textiles.
What is the future for fashion in your opinion?
Is there a future if we continue the way we do? Don’t think so. We have to create a new fashion world that is all about honest and fair work, quality and craftsmanship without exploiting people and resources.
What was your childhood dream job?
To be a detective
What was the first thing you ever created and how do you feel about it now?
I don’t remember the first thing I made, but what I remember best was when we made bookshelves in the woodwork class. I wanted to make a shelf that looked like a frog sitting on a water lily leaf. My teacher was frustrated and I was determined. I met him again this summer, almost 20 years later, and he still remembers the bookshelf. But he thought it was bear.
How was your exposure to fashion and design growing up?
Not existing. Art on the other hand was everywhere. I grew up in a family that has been painting for generations. Our house had so many paintings that there wasn’t enough space on the walls so the rest was stacked behind the shelves and under the bed.
Who were your early influences?
I guess it was my family and family background. They were always creating something.
Did you assist?
I assisted Admir Batlak for 5 seasons.
Do you have a secret project?
Yes. Can’t tell you about it, it’s secret ;)
What designer and their works never tire you?
Creators who continue to evolve and surprise, yet remain true to their artistic identity.
What harsh truths do you prefer to ignore?
The truth is that this type of job means a lot of work and low pay. But I don’t think about that, I just ignore it and enjoy my work
Does fashion hurt society in any way?
Depends on how you define fashion. If it is the commercial part, then yes - and we should work much harder to make changes. If it is the craft and artistic part, then no - It can challenge society at times, and will sometimes be provocative, but it is not art if it harms the society.
What do you contribute back to society?
My work can be like a voice. It doesn’t have to be a loud voice, it just has to be present. It’s a visual voice, and I can "talk" about what I think is important. How replaceable are you?
Has social media been positive or negative for our society? Why?
A bit of both? You can discover everything and at the same time everything gets lost among everything else.
What does the fusion of fashion and art mean to you in regard to your work?
I don’t see it as two separate things in my work, and it makes it a little complicated. Perhaps it is because the general idea of art is that it is eternal, while fashion is defined as something that is constantly changing and disappearing over the next second. It contradicts each other. Although I want to focus on textiles and clothing as an artistic expression, a problem arises when I place the work on a body, it loses part of the value of art because it is seen as clothing. I still don't know how to fix the problem and close that gap.