Norm-breaking and unapologetic. But still with the same fears and worries as the rest of us. Arvida Byström challenges society's rules as well as herself. Almost always with a touch of pink. We had a quick chat with Arvida about the new collaboration on our Pink Collection, about challenging the norms of society and how to Listen to yourself.
Celebrated as a net feminist, appreciated as an artist and being a role model for so many girls - how does that feel?
Aw, really sweet but it also makes me anxious because I don’t want people to compare themselves to others, so I hope I can inspire rather than making people feel weight down. For example when it comes to me being feminist, I struggle with seeing myself as a role model. I’m white and middle class which makes certain things very easy for me and I think feminism should not be about work and success and definitely have to span across class and race and needs to deal with more things than what fits into popular culture, where is pretty much where I fit in.
So yeah, haha! I guess it makes me uneasy if people see me as a role model, but also bless all the little hearts and souls out there that supported me and I really love seeing when I inspire other people to be creative and make art!
What do you personally experience as your greatest privilege?
I mean greatest privilege as in the one i enjoy more or the one that benefits me more? Being white, upper middle class and growing up in sweden obviously made my life really easy. Having time to figure out things about myself, the world and getting to a place where I can be content with life have been a great privilege and is so much harder to achieve than one might expect, that is something I wish for everybody, but things aren’t like that in the world yet.
Your top three girl clichés that make you most angry? And what gives you the energy to continue to fight them?
I mean those are endless, haha? Goes for both men and women I guess. It frustrates me that we live in a society that thinks being strong and career is the most important end goals, when being weak, failing etc. is a part of life and when failing is frowned upon we are creating a society of shame and sadness. So I’m not necessarily into the being-weak-is-strong-trope that I’ve felt been growing strong recently especially tied to women. But I mean it frustrated me that being girly, which can be being giggly wearing pink or exposing yourself as not knowing everything all the time, is mainly acceptable when it is prescribed to young girls. That feminine aesthetics are so aggressively sexualized. That being girly and socials codes are so heavily naturalized as if it is biological.
Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
The internet is pretty much omnipresent and includes books I read, friends and peers I tied bonds with and where I consume most of the art I get exposed to, so probably that!
What was a moment in your career that took you the most effort?
Not beating myself up about stuff. Not comparing myself to other people.
What’s your favorite fashion piece at the moment to express yourself?
Honestly I’ve gotten some late 90's platforms which I love. So comfortable and makes me a giant, so I’m into that!
When did you discover fashion as a way for your self-expression?
I’ve always been into visual stuff. Maybe because I’m a libra, haha? Clothes is a fun but also complicated thing. Not only is it used to include but also to exclude people. To show what class and cultural capital you’ve want to fit into etc. Nevertheless it is also extremely fun and a way to push boundaries and play with things. But yeah, pretty much my whole life. I used to secretly bring dresses to kindergarten if my mum put me in pants, haha!
What does the color pink mean to you?
Pink is a color that have been really important to my practice. I like how it is read as soft and feminine because that makes it very powerful to play around with and put in other contexts and question its meaning.
How did you translate your pink universe into a campaign for Urbanears?
I wanted to make something a bit otherworldly mixed with where i started my practise which in away was in my teen room in front of the internet.
In what moments do you just Listen to yourself and nobody else?
I mean I think one part of listening to yourself is somehow taking other people into account too because how people around you feel will also affect you. The hard part is to make out what is toxic and what is not in your and other people’s heads!
Only the inner values count - what is your favorite feature of the Urbanears products?
I think it is nice how you can change songs without pulling out your phone of your bag!
What are you listening to with our new Powder Pink headphones at the moment?
I love me some Ariana Grande and Niki Minaj! And then I also love podcasts. Listening to one called “Citations needed” a lot right now.
Listen to yourself by Arvida Byström
By working with Arvida we didn't only want her vision of the color pink. We also felt that Arvida personified the spirit of Listen to yourself. With her twist on the perspectives of who you're supposed be and how to act like, we really wanted her to symbolize the encouragement of self-expression within unique individuals and creative minds.
Listen to yourself is a creative initiative by Urbanears for creative minds who listen to their inner voice and make this voice their guide. A stage for those curious souls who squeeze the most color out of life and like to express their unique personalities. We are committed to champion radical creativity at the intersection of music, fashion and technology by collaborating with present & future icons to create new and immersive product & brand experiences. The colorful urban voices in the street we love to listen to. Those creators of style that are using their inner voice as tools to express their ideas and ideals.
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