The winner in the fashion category of the 2007 Hyères Festival International de Mode et Photographie was Sandra Backlund.
The Beckmans School of Design graduate who presented her collection “The Ink Blot Test” managed to convince the jury with her daring knitwear fashion.
modabot had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Sandra Backlund where she elaborates on her work.
After winning a prestigious competition such as Hyères, how do you feel and what does it mean to you?
The whole event was an experience for life, all the people you met and the rush from showing your collection in a big fashion show like that. And then the wind up… It is not every day you get to collect an award from the hands of Mr Lacroix. I am of course extremely happy, but still a bit chooked that I was the winner, I never saw it comming my way.
Could you tell us a little about your collection “Ink Blot Test”?
When I start on a new collection I always take off from a diffuse idea. Then I begin to experiment with different handicraft techniques and materials to find a couple of concrete bricks to develope into garments.
One thing leads to another and in the end the collection is like a three dimensional mind map.
This time the starting point was the idea of the ink blot test, you know when you take a blank page, spill some black ink and water, fold it in the middle and then unfold to discover what chance gave you.
Like a symmetrical accident.
What attracted you about knitwear design?
I guess I have found the ultimate way to express myself through my heavy wool collage knitting.
I am very inspired by almost every traditional handicraft technique.
It is the real thing and everything that the fashion industry of today is not. Very consuming in terms of time and money and a real trial to one ́s psychical and physical strength.
All the levels of skills you have to pass before you can even think about starting to improvise.
For me it is the absolute challenge.
You hold the opinion that one needs to know the basics to be able to evolve. What are your personal technical challenges right now?
I always spend a lot of time experimenting and exploring my own knitting skills.
I have also learned to carefully pay attention to any kind of mistakes and ideas along the way that can help me to move further and beyond what I knew before.
What/Who are your artistic inspirations?
I always work with the human body as an inspiration when creating a garment. I am really fascinated by all the ways you can highlight, distort and transform the natural silhouette of the body with clothes and accessories.
From whom did you learn the most in terms of fashion and why?
For me it is mostly from inside. I improvise a lot and allow myself to loose control and discover what happens if I do not think so much about practical things like trends, seasons, wearability and what other people want from me. In the end I do this only to satisfy myself.
What can fashion do for people?
I like to think of fashion more as an artform then an industry. In my opinion clothes is the most democratic form of art. Something everyone can relate to, consciously or unconsciously. People in general should be much more self-governed when it comes to fashion.
What have you learned as a designer that you would like to share?
Always work hard, protect your origins and what you are good at and never let success go to your head.
With whom or for whom would you like to work and why?
I try to live as much as possible in the moment and accept or turn down offers as they come to me. I can never imagine giving up my own company, but I can definitely see myself in collaborations with other designers on the side, if the time is right.
You have a strong work ethic. What drives you?
I am a searcher without set goals, so that means I will never reach a finishing line.
What are your future plans?
To start working on my next collection and exhibit some of my work during Arnhem Fashion Biennal in June and at ideal in Berlin in July.
Sandra Backlund “The Ink Blot Test”
Foto: Estelle Hanania
Sketch: Sandra Backlund
modabot is the News Service for Avantgarde Fashion based in Berlin.
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