Reshaping the Perception of Masculinity

Bild: Eyeglasses made from reused Absolut Vodka bottles. 

Per Götesson seeks to use the intersection between streetwear and luxury fashion to create a space where new ideas of masculinity can be born. “I believe masculinity can be very sensual, and very far from the aggressive norm so often portrayed in today’s society.”, he explains. 

“London seems like the place to be for small menswear brands these days”, Per Götesson says as I reach him for an interview on a Thursday afternoon. Fashion Week Stockholm is just a few days away, and the much-hyped Swedish fashion prodigy has managed to escape his busy schedule for a conversation with us.

Per exploded onto the fashion scene two years ago, after completing studies at both Beckman’s in Stockholm and The Royal College of Art in London. Since perfecting his design skills at Cheap Monday, under the lead of Ann-Sofie Back, Per has now reached a point in his career where his own interpretations of the modern man’s wardrobe are starting to make waves across the globe.

Per’s expressive take on Scandinavian functionalism took flight from London Fashion Week Men’s in 2016, and quickly thereafter landed on the pages of Vogue magazine, where his work was described as ‘curious, meticulous embellishment’. London is now not only his home, but also at the core of his work.

“London creates space to develop fashion with character, which is what men’s fashion is all about these days. We see a clear trend of the wholesale market giving way to fashion designers selling directly to customers. This shift fits designers who allow people to express their identity by wearing their clothes.”

As he walks the streets of London, capturing the city’s current soul through his camera, Per finds inspiration in combining nostalgia, history and renaissance art. And as we dig deeper on this topic, Per somewhat surprisingly expresses an undying fascination with the Arnolfini portrait by Jan van Eyck. That very portrait, he used as the inspiration to design an entire collection. “I try to absorb the world I see around me, and let the impressions pass through my filters. It helps me reflect and create fashion which allows people to express new sides of who they are.”

Per Götesson for Absolut Iconic. Photo: Axel Lindahl. Styling: Naomi Itkes.

Per seeks to use the intersection between streetwear and luxury fashion to create a space where new ideas of masculinity can be born. “I believe masculinity can be very sensual, and very far from the aggressive norm so often portrayed in today’s society.”, he explains. After brief pause, perhaps to allow for us to catch up, or perhaps in search of new words to convey his vision, he continues;

“I suppose I started searching for my own identity through my work as a student back at Beckman’s. These days, I try to use fashion to give other people tools to express parts of their own identities, which perhaps haven’t been available to them before.”

This is something Per seeks to do both through his designs and his, sometimes rather unorthodox, choice of materials. And with his already iconic designs, including eyewear made from recycled Absolut bottles, it is not surprising that men around the world are increasingly turning to Per to find a new niche of personal expression.

“The competition is fierce as the market today is completely oversaturated with young creatives trying to make their mark. To make it in such a harsh environment, you really must find an audience who believe in what you do. If there is one advice I would give new designers, it would be to acquire a skill and constantly work to improve it, never give up, and remember to always be fully dedicated to your cause.”

Before letting Per back to his busy schedule of preparing for Fashion Week Stockholm, we end our conversation by asking about his Absolut collaboration. The tone of his voice becomes lighter and the words seem to bubble out of him. “Growing up, Absolut’s fashion projects always presented me with ways to stay in touch with the latest from the designers I loved around the world. When being offered a collaboration of my own, I was thrilled to become part of their continued history of support for fashion and art.”