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Volt Café: What is your work ethic?
Astrid Andersen: That hard work pays off.

VC: The man you design for is confident, strong and masculine. What type of woman would complement him?
AA: I would like to think he is drawn to the same features in a woman, being strong, confident and independent. Feminine is a hard term to define these days and he would have his very own idea of what this covers.

VC: You’ve said ‘I feel that things become more interesting when there’s a danger of it going wrong a bit’. What dangers are you challenging now in terms of designing?
AA: I try to always take a risk on specific pieces within the collection. Proceeding even though I know some people will think it’s horrific sometimes. Some pieces have to be over the top to define the brand’s aesthetic. I am becoming more confident within this area of good and bad taste, whereas in the beginning I felt very insecure and worried a lot about what people would think of them. I don’t do that so much any more.

VC: The last collection was about vanity as an extreme sport. You quoted Joachim Ladefoged, ‘The sprinter has the time to race against, the weightlifter has the weights, and the bodybuilder only has the mirror’. What do you think about this obsession by beauty?
AA: I’m very fascinated by this. I think it’s a very big thing in my generation for men to be more vain and body conscious, which is interesting as a female to observe.

VC: If gyms have replaced churches in the community, as you wrote, who are our new Gods?
AA: (Smiling) Every man is his own potential.

VC: The concept of The Group is very important to you. Explain it to us.
AA: It’s very powerful. This interests me a lot because I love confidence in a man and the group is empowering to him. I love the identity he finds within a group but in the same way it really makes him shine as an individual. My favourite group reference is always the basketball court. I love watching how they take on a specific attitude and work as a group but is also extremely empowering for each player. It’s like a solo sport but in teams.

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VC: Model casting is very important to you. What generally guides you along? Do you know what you want from the beginning or does it come to you during the process?
AA: Yes it’s a big part of the brand. And it’s an ongoing process. I start with one guy in my mind and throughout developing the collection and castings it evolves. My main aspiration is just to make men look confident and hot in my clothes. This is a synergy where the guy has to be right to make the clothes shine and vice versa. I work very closely with Elgar Johnson on this process and this is a huge privilege and also a good balance in getting the man’s perspective as well as my point of view as a woman.

VC: People generally ask you about England and Denmark but what other places in the world inspire you?
AA: At the moment I’m dying to go to LA! It feels like an important place for the brand these days. On a personal level I would love to go to Iceland to get some of that clean air and calm pace.

VC: Do you have a muse, if so, who is he or indeed she?
AA: It’s rarely a specific guy. It’s more a broader concept of defining this man that I’m inspired by. I think if I got to know him too well, the magic would disappear…

VC: I’ve read that in Mark Zuckerberg’s office there is a big poster with the number 1, meaning WORK AS IF IT WAS YOUR FIRST DAY. How do you keep your enthusiasm high?
AA: Haha, oh my! I’m simply very passionate about what I do; I don’t need a poster to remind me of that…

VC: What do you think it takes to be a good fashion designer?
AA: There are a million different ways to be a good designer, and who actually gets to define that? I think a good designer stays true to an aesthetic that feels natural.

VC: What have you learnt so far that you’d want future designers to know?
AA: That you will meet extremely talented and amazing people on the way, who will be the biggest difference in achieving your goals. You will know instantly who to keep close as you develop and who to not waste any time on.

All images courtesy of Ella Dror PR
Words by Virginia Achilli

Tags

Astrid Andersen, Elgar Johnson, Ella Dror PR, Virginia Achilli,