Ljubljana, Slovenia

Photographer/Fashion design graduate who never really felt like a fashion designer, GIFs are Petra's true passion.  Her work has been featured in Elle Magazine, Think Contra, Mugs and Bubbles, El Fanzine / Viernes De GIF, RTV SLO, Generator, Byob Worldwide. 

I just can’t resist to GIF, even if I have to draw. In the end...not gonna be happy if it doesn’t move.
— Petra Švajger


Did you get in trouble a lot as a kid? 

All the time :) especially in school. My parents were at the principals office every other week. I just didn't get the concept of sitting still, being quiet and listening. I just wanted to play all the time. I still have the same problem.

How did you integrate GIFs into your academic studies?

In my first year of studies there was a creativity class The point of it was learning to be as different as possible from everyone else. The professor gave us some crazy projects - and for the final one he said “make anything“. I grabbed the opportunity and created my fist GIF movie. It had nothing to do with fashion, but it was a step in a right direction for me.

Later on we had a “Fashion video“ class with the same professor and all my videos were made from GIFs - I got totally hooked, so I asked him if I could make a cinemagraph editorial for my final academic project. He had no idea what I was talking about because at the time GIF editorials weren't as popular as they are now, but he gave me all the freedom to create anything I wanted as long as I put it in the context of my studies. So I created the “Doll Story“ series and through research of graphics interchange format I was the first to define a concept of fashion animation as a media of fashion presentation in Slovenia. 

Why do you think fashion has embraced GIFS?

GIF gives fashion more options. I was always wondering what happens a moment before and after the fashion image is made, or how the textile is moving, or the model, the light. I think fashion embraces GIFs because like fashion, GIF is about creating images, illusions, dreams, some kind of frozen moments, scenarios that live forever.

Name 3 things people would be surprised to know about you.

1. I never wear trousers 2. I am awkward and antisocial 3. I don't know how to dance.

Where did you get this idea for the skeleton GIFs, and more importantly, where did you get the skeleton? 

I made the skeleton myself - it was for a school project. I think the purpose was to create an object out of paper, which is in some way linked to the body whether it is a piece of clothing, a fashion accessory, or just a new form which deforms the body so as to establish a new one. We were supposed to find our inspiration in mythology, and transfer the philosophy of the mythical creature in to the current time. So I found a demon named Namorodo who is an evil mythical creature. His body is composed solely of bones and muscles, which reminded me of the models that we see on the runways nowadays. The skeleton series is therefore a reflection on the illusion of what the media world, the food and fashion industry is trying to project as an ideal body.

Awkward series – what inspired you to create this?

My never ending awkwardness :)

I created it when I started my Masters studies at a new faculty and 98% of the time I was totally lost... Didn't really know any professors and classmates, started to question myself if this was the right place for me... The day I drew this was just another in the series of my SUPER AWKWARD days - came to the photography class and AGAIN... nobody there... So I just sat there all alone and totally lost, and drew this... 

Ljubljana, without question has the best…

Underground - alternative culture. We have a place called Metelkova that used to be a military base but is now an alternative culture community where you can find clubs, artist studios, galleries, ... It is totally opened to everyone and anyone and I haven't seen a place like it anywhere in the world.

It’s fashion week in New York, you’ve finished your commissioned GIFs, and you now have a free day.  What does Petra do with it? 

First thing I would do is find a coffee shop and get me a large coffee with milk and sugar, than I would randomly wonder around the streets with my camera like a true tourist. As crazy as I am I would pretend that I'm in a 90s TV series because being from Europe everything oversees looks like a movie set to me :) I would probably have the Petula Clark - Downtown song stuck in my head all day long and I know I would want to stop by Strawberry Fields in Central Park because I'm such a huge John Lennon fan. I'm not sure if I would want to see anything on fashion week being so awkward, but I would definitely check the MOMA.  

We are in an era when life runs faster than ever, and this is probably why graphics interchange format is gaining in popularity. In a fast and amusing way it gives us a large amount of information
— Petra Švajger