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Fashion's New Optimism: Sandra Backlund

A bittersweet week in Miami gave this much-lauded knitwear designer her spring summer 2009 collection.

Sandra Backlund, 33, Swedish, Womenswear/Knitwear

Where did you study and why did you decide to study there?
Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm. I chose it because it is a great school for fashion and because I did not want to study abroad.

Which city do work in and for what reason?
I work in Stockholm because I like it here. It is not like I could never see myself working anywhere else in the future, but for now this is the best place for me.

What films/books/tv-programs/moments and stories inspire your design now?
Moments and stories from my own everday life. I live an extremely hard working life right now and everything that is going on, both private, as a designer and as the head of my own company I deal with through my work.

In your own words describe your last collection.
For my S/S 09 collection, which I have just finished, it is not yet completely clear†to me. But it is all about a Swedish girl in full mourning and a dark mind who spends the first week of November in Miami.

Describe the moment you realised you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I have always been interested in different kinds of arts and crafts and before I got into design I was more into art and photography. I do not know exactly what made me choose fashion, but in the beginning I think it was just the lack of interesting fashion to buy as a teenager in stores in my hometown that made me create my own clothes. In reality, I decided to become a fashion designer nine years ago.

Who is your all time fashion idol?
I will always admire people who seem to approach fashion more as an expression of art, than for commercial reasons. Azzedine Alaia is one.

In a sentence how would you describe your work/style?
With the human body as the main starting point I improvise through a three dimensional collage methode to discover ideas of shapes and silhouettes that I could never come to think about in my head.

From the recent S/S 09 shows, which shows were your favourite collections, and why?
Since I did not see any of the shows live it is impossible for me to say, but I saw some images from the Hussien Chalayan show and it looked amazing.

Which new designers do you respect and why?
Anyone who has their own voice. I am afraid that some might concentrate too hard on just living up to the image of beeing a new designer, instead of acctually working as one.

If you could go back in time and experience any fashion moment, what would it be?
Either really far back in time when clothes were only made on order and there was no fast fashion or sometime arround the 60s when fashion was fun and full of naive experiments.

If you could get any model/ anyone to wear your clothes, who would it be - who is your muse and why?
I would not say that I have an imaginary muse, but Sara Blomqvist, which I had the pleasure to work with for my A/W 08 show and lookbook is a really great model. She is very intelligent and I adore her look. If I should name someone I have not worked with it is more difficult, but Tilda Swinton is a strong woman that always spellbinds me.

If you were to shoot your campaign and you could get your dream team of photographer, stylist, and model and do anything you wanted, who and what would it be?
I don't have a dream team, I am just grateful for every time I get the opportunity to work with people within this business who live for what they are doing and find my work interesting.

Where do you see yourself/your label for A/W 09?
My plan is to continue to work hard, protect my origins and what I am good at, but still figure out new ways to develop my designs and my company.

Where do you see yourself/ your label for A/W 29?
I try to keep an open mind and not worry too much about the future. I am a searcher so I will never find myself reaching some kind of finishing line, but I would of course like to be able to live off my work.

Tell us any anecdotes about the making of your last collection.
For A/W 08 I knew from the start that the collection had to be about bruises, but I did not know why. Then someone close to me passed away in the beginning of the proccess and in the very same second she took her last breath I fell down a steep stairway in my studio. It was a very strange experience, but we always had a special connection, so it is probably not that strange after all. Beaten from the fall and from losing her, the result was a very personal and melancholy collection.

If you weren’t a fashion designer what would you be?
My childhood dream was towork as a hair stylist, but if I should choose another profession now I would like to be the owner of a vintage store.