Ann-Sofie Back, the edgy London-based designer is returning to Stockholm, as the appointed Creative Director of Swedish jeans brand Cheap Monday. We catch up with her to get the inside information on her new collaboration.
What is your creative process? Do you have any rituals that jump-start the ideas flowing?
No not really, you just start looking more closely on people around you, try and really look at things around you and reflect more. What is going on…
Who is the Ann-Sofie Back girl – Where does she hangout? What music does she listen to? Which films does she watch?
I cannot answer things like that, I don’t think that is possible to pinpoint, I use some friends and people at work as reference points more, would they wear it? Even if they say yes they would, would they really?
Your collections and general aesthetic have sometimes been tagged as ‘Goth’, would you say that your designs are more ‘dark rebel’ than ‘girly-girl’?
I love girly clothes but only to take the edge off something more masculine, if I make a frilly, romantic skirt it has to be styled with a large coat or a man’s shirt for example. The only collection that could be described as goth would be AW10 but that was inspired by horror movies so I guess some people interpreted it as goth.
Your AW’09 collection titled “Ann-Sofie Back burns in hell” had a satirical wit about it. Is this a reflection of your character?
I have a tendency to shoot myself in the foot both professionally and personally, so yes.
The soundtrack for your fall collection: a mix of nostalgic Halloween-horror themes was a big hit. Do you play a part in choosing the music for your shows?
I always have very personal ideas about the music for my shows but lately I have started taking advice as well. It gets less and less hard to listen to other peoples opinions about things, as you get older, it’s not as threatening.
Congratulations on being newly appointed creative director of Cheap Monday in Stockholm. Now that you will be based in Sweden how would you compare it to London as a fashion capital?
It is harder to detect trend’s in the general population in London, in Stockholm all people are trendy and look the same, even the ones who think they stand out.
Ηow do you think you will find working in Sweden as opposed to the 8 years you have been working in London?
I have been in London for 12 years. I don’t think I need London as inspiration anymore. But Stockholm is very small and quite claustrophobic. It’s more that I feel a bit exposed and not as anonymous as I did in London, I get a bit paranoid, I’m getting a bit of London blues now though although I would never move back, not in a million years. Oregon on the other hand, buying myself a gas station (or something other that isn’t good for the environment)…
Your collaboration with Cheap Monday starts with the Autumn / Winter 2010-11 collection. What can we expect to see from this line?
I can’t divulge in that, I’m trying make the collections more coherent, women , men and denim. That’s what I’m here for. The jeans of Cheap Monday have a very strong identity now but the rest of the collection needs to become as interesting and strong, that is my main focus.
Cheap Monday is renowned for its staple skinny jeans. As you will be directing all designs but jeans will you look to create statement fashion must-haves as the jeans have been for sometime now?
I don’t think you can do that to the same extent in other products year after year the same way as you can with jeans. Jeans fashion moves slower, at least when it comes to fit. But of course I’ll try and make bestsellers!
How do you think Cheap Monday and Ann-Sofie Back will compliment each other in this new collaboration?
Me and Orjan Andersson, the founder and Creative Director of Cheap Monday, share a lack of respect for fashion and aestethic. He comes from a sales background and I come from a design background and I think that is really a perfect match, I value his advice a lot.
You have a blog, (www.anne-sofieback.blogspot.com) a Twitter account and have collaborated with Nick Knight’s online website SHOWSTUDIO. Do you think the Internet is affecting a designers job and the way the fashion industry functions?
Yes, it’s faster, more global and everyone has a opinion. It’s fascinating and scary.
Photography: Magnus Klackenstam