“They are one of the reasons so much amazing menswear is happening in London,” says Astrid Andersen of Topman, her new collaborative partner and sponsor of the talent platforms, MAN and NEWGEN Men, from which she has received support. “This is very unique to other fashion capitals and something London is and should be proud of.”
“Scandinavia,” claims the designer, “is obsessed with good taste, to an extent that it inhabits new ideas sometimes I fear. London is braver in style because here we are less afraid of bad taste.”
Preoccupied with textures such as fur, lace and crushed velvet, her clothes tend to walk the line between London’s ‘anything goes’ nature and that of her native Denmark, as she later clarifies: “The cleanness of (this) directional aesthetic is also something I love and consider constantly in my work.”
Her work – she will go on to inform Clash – is the product of control freak tendencies. “I love how in my own process, I am 100% in control of every seam,” she offers. It’s a characteristic though, that didn’t lend itself to the production of the 17-piece capsule collection with Topman, which launches this Thursday; “I wanted to jump on the machine and be like “See?! Like this!””
Presumably that wasn’t an option, but the outcome far from hinders the Andersen reputation. Comprised of oversized tees, shorts, sweatshirts and trousers, plus one handsome black rucksack, the clothes fiercely subscribe to Astrid’s vision of menswear, an often tender and always strong interpretation of a supposed hip hop wardrobe.
Similarly, her usual condensed colour palette here offers just black, white and hot pink, with metallic strips, capital A’s and the Astrid Andersen logo the only obvious decoration. The inspiration she tells, was from a website on Punjab basketball teams in India.
Of the hook up with the high street giant Andersen reckons, “It felt like a very natural step for both parties, ” and it’s easy to agree, given the ease of the aesthetic she works to and the pull of such in menswear; just last week the windows of Oxford Circus’s flagship store welcomed Topman’s new sportswear line.
Attests Gordon Richardson, Topman’s Creative Director, “Working with a designer with such total unrelenting focus on her design aesthetic as Astrid, has resulted in a breathtaking range of energetic luxury sportswear pieces.”
Modelling said pieces in the accompanying campaign is A$AP Ferg. Part of the A$AP Mob, of whom Astrid has strong ties, Ferg last year confessed to Clash his intent “to inspire people to be innovative with their art and themselves,” later adding, “Being around the arts, and different mediums, inspires me to be creative.” (read the full interview here).
On set in New York, this is a role he apparently excelled at, bringing “the energy and vibes to the capsule that I had envisioned. He was amazing, totally turning the heat up on this project.”
The release of Astrid Andersen for Topman falls just three days ahead of the catwalk show for the designer’s SS15 mainline collection at London Collection: Men. So how’s that one looking? “Very sensual.”
Words: Zoe Whitfield