Interview: Astrid Andersen on NYC Swagger, Wu-Tang Clan, and Breaking the Scandinavian Design Mold

Interview: Astrid Andersen on NYC Swagger, Wu-Tang Clan, and Breaking the Scandinavian Design Mold
You took a picture of that Wu-Tang art piece, are you a fan of hip-hop?
Yeah.

 

I am really obsessing over the Kanye album. I didn’t think I would be, but I am obsessing about it.

 

And you're a fan of Wu-Tang?
Well, Wu-Tang is definitely a constant for me. For this summer’s show, we played an acapella of “C.R.E.A.M.” It was so good, I really loved it actually. It was first an acapella version and then it went into an instrumental. Then, at the end, we played the full song. I think for me it’s just the way that they interact as a group. For me it’s a style reference as well.

Is it kind of like basketball? 
I feel it is. It’s all about one person shining, but when they’re together as well, it’s a very strong group mentality. I’d love to be able to create this universe where, if I saw a bunch of guys in my clothes they would look that uniform but still super individual. That’s what’s really exciting about them.

Who’s your favorite rapper of all time?
Of all time? I would probably say Method Man.

What era though? 
I don’t know why, I just really love it. I love that album with blue on the front, and he has the scary grills [
Judgement Day]. He’s very smooth, and that’s what I like. He’s always the one that comes in and is like...The Man.

Have you seen him live?
No I haven’t. Actually they’re coming this week. I don’t know how many of them, but they’ll be in Copenhagen, so I’ll have to go check it out.

I mean A$AP Rocky is a fan. Do you see that in the A$AP Mob?
Yeah. Totally. I just did a collab in the spring with a shop called Storm that we launched at FourTwoFour. They did a lookbook with Left Brain from Odd Future and Ian ConnorIt was really nice of them to do that lookbook, but it was a black and white thing. It was nice to do it as a collab with someone like Storm and FourTwoFour because doing a black-and-white thing was not really what my brand is essentially about, but it’s very much about what young kids want right now.

The whole Hood By Air thing is awesome, and I kind of liked doing that as a small little thing, just to see who would latch on and how quickly it would really sort of build. I was really blown away by the attention that that got, and also from the A$AP Mob. All their Twitter pictures is, like, worth probably five times more in marketing that it ever was in sales. [Laughs] That was kind of interesting. All the buyers in Paris this season were like, “Yeah but...what about the black print on a white t-shirt? Are you doing that again?”

Besides Wu-Tang, what hip-hop are you listening to right now? 
Well I do have to say right now, I am really obsessing over the Kanye album. I didn’t think I would be, but I am obsessing about it. I love it, I have to really evaluate why that is. [Laughs]

 

Givenchy is the best way to describe how much those two things, high fashion and hip-hop, can really generate for each other.

 

Do you like the new Jay Z album?
I do. That took a little bit longer to grow on me. I did actually feel like he’s rapping in a way that he didn’t used to? He’s almost rapping like Kanye, which is a little bit sad when you think about it. He’s supposedly the legend and Kanye is supposedly the student. But, with these two albums it does feel like those roles have been shifted quite a lot. I do love some tracks on that album, but I just had to get my head around the fact, maybe just accept, that he also is doing what is most sellable.

Do you think high-fashion, or the sector of the industry you occupy is embracing hip-hop? I mean, high fashion is definitely interacting with hip-hop right now, but we’re not sure that that will always be the case.
No. I think it’s a trend like a lot of things, but I think it will be a trend that will be here for a substantial time. It’s very clear that, you know you can hear Jay Z referencing Ricardo Tisci. It’s like “What happened there?” I thought that was Kanye doing that. [LaughsIt’s like, it’s everywhere. For those guys who mention that name, it’s like, “Damn.” Givenchy is the best way to describe how much those two things, high fashion and hip-hop, can really generate for each other.

We’re in the middle of that. It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.
Also, I went to [A$AP] Rocky’s concert in Copenhagen and before I went to the concert, I didn’t know that there were that many of this specific kid, age 13 to 20, who’s so obsessed with his music as well, but it’s also about all the things he name drops. They’re all really aspiring to wear Alexander Wang, they really want to look like the part of this black and white look, and I didn’t know there were that many of those in Copenhagen. But then you go to a concert and you realize, “Oh my God, he’s got a massive following.” Even in Copenhagen. He probably sold more T-shirts than anybody else because people buy an A$AP T-shirt for, I don’t know, $20, and they feel like they bought a fashion item. That’s pretty clever. As a designer, it's like, how can I do that? [Laughs]

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