Astrid Andersen’s women’s show was one of the hottest tickets at Copenhagen Fashion Week’s most recent outing, which concluded 3 February. Since graduating from Royal College of Art in 2010, the Danish native’s high-octane take on tracksuits and hip hop silhouettes have helped shape a new menswear aesthetic. A few women’s looks appeared in the SS17 collection, but this season marked the first dedicated women’s show, complete with a new line of sunglasses. In another fresh move, Astrid Andersen has launched her own e-shop (astridandersen.com), selling her wares from the studio directly to the consumer.
We caught up with the designer backstage after the show to discuss the developing womenswear line.
What inspired you to launch a full womenswear collection for F/W17?
We’ve built a female customer base over the years who’ve been buying our menswear, so launching womenswear was a way of meeting growing demand. It’s taken the brand almost seven year to get here; it was important for me to establish the brand as a men’s name because menswear’s always been my passion. The way I look myself definitely references a more masculine aesthetic, too.
The strength of your menswear is – in part – its side-stepping of straight-laced gender stereotypes. How does this translate back to womenswear?
Menswear will always be the starting point for my work. I find it exciting to filter everything from a menswear lens, and this in turn becomes something that feels like a relevant women’s expression. We’re a very female team at the Astrid Andersen studio, and we’ve always talked about how we want men to feel confident, secure and comfortable in our clothes. A suit shouldn’t be the only choice for a man who wants to appear successful; and equally – a woman shouldn’t only be deemed successful if she enters the room in a floor-sweeping gown. We like to arrive at our conclusions by considering contemporary as well as historical expressions of power dressing. The same ethos has been applied to our women’s collection, while we’ve also tried to define what will make women feel strong and comfortable with their sexuality. It’s been really interesting to translate the men’s looks into a powerful female statement. We styled a lot of the clothes directly from the men’s collection – such as the cord jacket worn with oversize trousers – while others were pure, fitted women’s silhouettes. Some of the silhouettes look quite formal when you see them from the front, but when the model turns round you realize she’s actually wearing something that resembles a tracksuit.
You’ve helped establish a new mood in men’s fashion. What is the most important thing you wish to bring to the field of womenswear and female consumers?
People are very quick to move on to new trends but we’re very comfortable with our aesthetic and we’ll keep pushing it in terms of silhouette and fabric – which for F/W17 juxtaposes traditional English corduroys against sumptuous velvet, fur and Sophie Hallette lace. Our focus on instilling confidence via clothing feels possibly even more relevant for women than men. Girls need to see that there is an alternative way of dressing. When we tried to research comparable brands, we found that the powerful look we advocate is not very developed for girls at all, and this might explain why the demand has been so high over the years.