Interview by James Harris (@Dr_TacoMD)
Astrid Andersen is a designer that is blazing a path through the most impressive realms of men's style right now. She's stocked in some of the dopest stores in the world, can include current style icons in her fanbase, and is climbing the ladder towards veritable stardom—all this at the age of 28. But other than being fans of her sick, athletic-inspired clothing, Andersen is so new to the scene that we didn't know too much about her. When we had the chance to meet up with her during her first time visiting NYC, we immediately invite her in to chop it up. The conversation went way beyond what we expected, and was the first time Wu-Tang, Vlade Divac, and Topman all made a verbal appearance before 11 a.m.
Welcome to New York! So what do you think of the style and what you see on the street, or of what guys are wearing?
I wish I could stay longer. Or I wish that I knew when I was coming back. Four days is okay, but now I know it might be a long time before I come back. It’s such a relevant place for me right now, in terms of style references and just the whole mentality of how people present themselves. You see people dressing in the same clothes as in Copenhagen or London, but the guys here just carry themselves a different way. Maybe its just that my work is very influenced by male confidence and I always reference that. But that’s what you find in New York, I think. People wearing this stuff with such confidence that it just looks that much better.
Like a very masculine swagger?
What do you see in London or Copenhagen?
You get a little bit of that, but it’s just that here, that guy isn't the odd one out. It’s like, these confident guys are walking down the street, and they don’t stick out. It’s more like a constant blend of it, and it’s really amazing.
...for my work I need to push it somewhere else. And this doesn’t sit with the scene in Scandinavia. I think I will always come out looking like the crazy designer...
Do you think you’re going to take anything back from New York? Will it affect what you create next season, or in your general approach?
I think so. I think it’s inevitable for me. After being here, I want to have these references visible in my work because I’m quite grateful for this scene. It’s what I feed off in my work. So I think there should be an element showing that this is where I take my inspiration from. I think that’s going to be visible next season.
There are a lot of athletic references in your work. Do you think that that’s always going to be the case, or has that just been true for a few seasons?
I think that’s always going to be the case, or at least from where how I feel about working right now. I think it’s just down to how I want to dress men or how I would want them to be dressed, and there’s always an athletic kind of reference within that. I mean I get really excited about the technical stuff as well, like when I go into Niketown and see all the laser-cut stuff or even the gear that they make for the Olympic teams, when you really read about how it’s “body scanned” and everything. That gets me just as excited as a tailor on Savile Row gets about wadding or cross-stitching.
You see it in every design house these days as well, sports references are becoming just as important as other factors. People are so anal about it, in the same way that they used to care about how everything was hand-stitched. Now it’s like the same level of luxury and concern, where everything is either laser-cut punched holes to create a breathing effect, or other crazy techniques.
What’s the number one sport in your mind? Is it basketball?
...last season I was very obsessed with this old history about this Croatian, Vlade Divac, who used to play for the Lakers. I think he’s my all-time favorite.
You have said that you design for the player on the court, and the mentality he has on the court where he’s leading a team down the floor.
It’s a sport where they are a team, and the team spirit is so visible there, but it’s also like a one man’s game at the same time. It’s about playing up to each other and making one person shine. I love that whole mentality around that, they’re not afraid to shine, and they’re not afraid to give room to make this other person really just go for it. At the same time when they're lined up, they’re so uniform, and there’s something really powerful in that.