Mona Skagerfors was a fashion illustrator and writer. She was a pioneer in Swedish fashion journalism.
Mona Skagerfors was born in 1922 in Gothenburg. She was the younger of two daughters. Her parents were Evelina Alexandra Fredriksson and court photographer Erik Valdemar Löfberg. At the beginning of the 1940s, Mona Skagerfors was educated as a draftswoman at the art school Slöjdföreningens skola (nowadays HDK-Valand) in Gothenburg, where she studied advertising. At the school, she met the artist Olle Skagerfors who was later to become her husband. In 1944, when the couple had completed their respective courses, they travelled to Paris for a month’s stay. They decided to remain in the city since Paris offered opportunities for Mona Skagerfors’ career as a fashion illustrator. They lived in Paris for three years, during which they married and had their daughter Anna.
Mona Skagerfors worked as a fashion illustrator for the Gillblads company, but resigned to work on illustrations in newspapers and magazines. During her time in Paris, Mona Skagerfors earned her living by creating illustrations, and under the signature Skagerfors she had her fashion illustrations published in the major Swedish daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter, as well as in Göteborgs Handels- och Sjöfarts-Tidning and Bonniers månadstidning. For the latter, she illustrated one page for every edition. It was an advantage to be in situ in Paris where Christian Dior was the great fashion creator, and Mona Skagerfors succeeded in gaining access to his fashion shows.
The Skagerfors family later moved to Sweden since her husband was homesick. They settled in Gothenburg but also bought a house on the west coast island of Klädesholmen. Their home became a meeting place for artists and theatre folk. Olle Skagerfors was an artist and between 1950 and 1980, Mona Skagerfors was often a model for his paintings. Back in Sweden, Mona Skagerfors gained an appointment as a fashion illustrator and also fashion writer on Göteborgs-Posten where she worked for 18 years. During the 1950s, Mona Skagerfors designed costumes for plays being produced at the Gothenburg City Theatre. She was simultaneously employed as the consultant to a company and also designed her own collection of clothes.
In the 1960s, Mona Skagerfors worked as a teacher of fashion illustration at Konstindustriskolan, that was then the name of Slöjdföreningens skola. She had planned for the school to open a fashion programme, but after the criticism of fashion that grew strong during the 1970s, the plan was not suited to the times. During the same period, Mona Skagerfors started to work for the Gillblads company again.
Twice a year, Mona Skagerfors travelled to Paris to keep herself up-to-date with the latest fashion. She also travelled to London, that was challenging Paris’ status during the 1960s as a centre of fashion. In the 1970s, she also travelled to Rome to attend fashion shows.
Apart from working as a fashion journalist and illustrator, Mona Skagerfors wrote and illustrated several books that received a great deal of attention: Den skamliga flärden in 1980; Herrar och den intressanta ytan in 1992; Damer, rebeller, outsiders och tidens yta in 1994; Ytans magi, crossdressing och annat in 1996; and Ytans förvirring: kläder eller mode in 2004. She also wrote texts for Kvinnokultur: en bok av tjugofyra kvinnor om kvinnors kultur in 1981 and the anthology Kläder published by Nordiska museet in 1988.
In 1990, Mona Skagerfors was rewarded with the Gothenburg City Honour Award for a much appreciated contribution to the cultural life of the city. In 2000, Mona Skagerfors had an exhibition in the Gothenburg City Museum on the theme of the influence of the times on clothing. The year after, it was shown at Kulturhuset in Stockholm. Mona Skagerfors made illustrations for the exhibition to show the changes for each decade during the 1900s. She also held lectures on the same theme in various contexts.
Mona Skagerfors died in 2011, at 89 years of age.