The evolution of women in the workforce peaked during World War II. Working women were everywhere: steering the wheels of trucks, welding metal parts for war machines, and completing labor-intensive tasks in factories. Like any job, it came with challenges such as dealing with the male gaze and negotiating pay. And a huge part of that negotiation began with power suits.
Power suits are synonymous with strong women on top of their game: Dolly Parton in Nine to Five, Grace Jones on the cover of Nightclubbing or Lady Gaga on the red carpet at Elle’s Woman of the Year. Trailblazers of the ‘70s and ‘80s rocked the iconic look of large shoulder pads, trousers and heels. They smoked in public and won voting rights, all of which were once restricted to men only.
Bratislavan born and Berlin-based sustainable fashion designer, Melisa Minca coins herself as an “upcycling queen” on her Instagram, which has garnered a cult following of more than 17k vintage enthusiasts. In an exclusive collaboration with online vintage shop, The Black Market, their mission is to breathe new life into vintage clothing through upcycling. Overturning fast fashion and mass production, each item in their collection is unique, designed and made with love in Melisa’s Berlin studio.
When we asked what her favorite piece in the collection was, the founder of The Black Market, Lisa N’Paisan answered “I like what the ‘PAY ME’ shirt stands for. For years, women have worked hard and played by the rules, only to see their male peers get promoted faster… I also love all the reflective pieces in the collection.”
Until men and women are paid equally in the workforce, power dressing will remain a way for women to subvert gender stereotypes.
You can check out the exclusive The Black Market x Melisa Minca collection here.
Photographer: Eily Thams @justanothernerdasian
Models: Melisa Minca @melisaminca & Estela Suarez @estela.suarez
Set Designer: Chiara Leoni @colourfulchiara
Stylists: Melisa Minca & Lisa N’Paisan @lisa.kuro
Hair: Mariana Lozano @mariana_lozano
Make-up: Henrieke Ahrendt @riekemeisai
Assistant: Daniel Uusitalo @darnel98
Clothing by Melisa Minca x The Black Market