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Space travel, Challenger explosion inspire fashion designer Luci Kandler

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This Sunday, as part of Fashion Week MN, Luci Kandler shows off her provocative new designs at an informal show. Taking inspiration from space and the ways we try to explain the unknowable, the fashion line, Kandler, is a new direction for the designer, who previously was one-half of the design duo Calpurnia Peach and serves as the manager director of Faux Poco studio space. 

The idea for the line came about through Kandler researching and thinking about space and where we are with space exploration right now. She began by listening to a lot of podcasts and discovered space exploration has recently opened more for non-astronauts. Then she fell down a rabbit hole reading about the Challenger and Columbia explosions. 

“In both of those missions two women were killed, and I felt there was something significant about that,” she says. “It seemed like a really interesting analogy of how humans have pushed their limitations with space travel.”

Kandler identifies mostly as a print designer, who also designs apparel. “Print is my passion,” she says. She loves taking on subjects “that are a little different,” and hiding messages within a print.

Her new collection contains three prints. One is a photographic image of the Challenger explosion, another is a line-art piece of the four women in space uniforms juxtaposed with chrysanthemums.

“They represent the Earth, the terrestrial connection to space,” she says.

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The third print is a two-color screen-print showing naked women wearing space helmets. “It’s about human fragility,” she says. “I wanted to make it clear that it was women in these space suits,” she says.

Some of the clothing contains cut-outs that expose parts of the body that aren’t normally sexualized. “It’s more about showing skin, but in a way that again hints at that human fragility,” she says. She also employs garment construction that doesn’t include a lot of closure, such as wrap elements. 

As for the future, she’s not sure what this new line will evolve into. “This was really just about experimenting for me,” she says. “My hope is to create a few pieces for sale from this collection.”

In addition to the Kandler line, Sunday’s event includes jewelry by Minneapolis designer Larissa Loden, a donation-based organic wine bar, and local project Water Bar, which will be talking about resources and its new space.

For details about all of Fashion Week MN’s events, which launches today, see the calendar here.

IF YOU GO:

Challenger Collection by Kandler

There will be a presentation and open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, April 10

Blockfort Studio

2920 Talmage Ave. SE, Suite 140, Minneapolis. Enter from the right side of the building.