So get this: Astrid Andersen is a female designer from the tiny country of Denmark, who designs red-blooded streetwear favoured by big, burly American rappers and skinny little Japanese fashion fans all at once. None of that should make sense but it totally does, and after seasons of looking West for inspiration Astrid finally gave it up to the other half of her diehard fan base: Japan. It was in the sumo wrestlers of the Land of the Rising Sun that the designer found her tribe familiarity, albeit without any loincloths in sight. Instead, she converted the kimonos and fabric panels of the extended sumo uniform into garments, which would have looked as natural in a boxing ring or on the back of a flamboyant playboy mogul, for that matter. And so, the wonderful, indefinable world of Astrid Andersen came full circle once again. i-D spoke to her backstage.
Well, Japan was my first stockist. It was the first country to ever buy my clothes so there was a relationship there. I went for the first time this year to visit the shops and the people, and I’ve been wanting to go for years now, so it was a combination of the two.
What did you find in Japan that you don’t find in your usual American references?
For me it was the sumo wrestling, and how much it’s about telling a story and what kind of tribe you belong to with these aprons. It just totally fits everything I want to do with my sense of branding. It was so immediate.
It was sexier than usual as well.
Yes! I would use the word ‘sensual’, but summer is always sexier for me. It’s the nature of the season.
Is Japanese sexuality different from Western and American sexuality?
Definitely, and for me it was interesting to clash the two, because a Japanese guy probably wouldn’t adopt the styling as I style it, but that comes from my influence and what’s considered sexy from my point of view.
What’s your favourite thing about Japanese men?
They’re so brave. I mean, look at them! There’s no pre-conceived notion as to what you can and can’t do.
It’s about pushing masculinity
Totally. It’s almost a different term there.