Blue Sky Agenda: Designer ANDERS HAAL in Conversation with 032c

ANDERS HAAL is a Stockholm-based designer who, after completing his studies at Beckmans College of Design, moved on to become first designer at Ann-Sofie Back Atelje. In late 2013, he left the company to start his own label, HAAL, which was quickly picked up by forward-thinking retailers such as LN-CC and Opening Ceremony. His second collection, which debuts here, features HAAL models digitally plastered across big city billboards set against blue sky backdrops. 032c spoke with Haal about hacking, big brand mentalities, and carefree living.

 

grid21032c: You’ve described your work as “applying a ‘hacker’ mindset in seeking a new conceptual lifestyle approach.” What do you mean by that? 

ANDERS HAAL: A hacker’s mindset is an outsider perspective, a code breaker. Designing lifestyle is more interesting for me than designing collections.

HAALSS15_0898What does the HAAL lifestyle approach look like?

HAAL is carefree and casual.

This collection brings together a lot of disparate elements, but the way they’re presented in the look book brings it all together. It seems in contrast with what’s often expected from a brand, where the clothes themselves develop a trademark look but the packaging changes every season (see: Chanel).  How concerned are you with designing clothes which are recognizably “you”? 

I work a lot with mismatched elements, almost un-designed at times, like a wardrobe. The way I work with continuity and repetition is probably the answer to my trademarking. I stick to the things I like. Some things won’t change, while other parts of the collection will change completely every time. It would be too boring for me to work with just one look. It’s more about the mix, how things work together and the gap it creates. How you combine with a certain body or a certain character because this is how you dress. That’s the most honest way to design for me.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 13.33.45

I see a bit of a connecting thread to K-HOLE’s definition of normcore – an open-mindedness and willingness to adapt. What are your thoughts on the term?

Hot topic. Stockholmers seem to be really scared of it actually. Scared of being themselves or not, I don’t know. But this thinking is old news to us. It’s part of our culture. Open-mindedness and diversity is important ingredients in HAAL, yes, but these kind of fully fledged ideas aren’t necessary to me.

grid3Brand identity is arguably more important than clothes at the moment, at least on the mass market level. How do you think about the visual identity of your brand and how important are the garments themselves?

Either way, clothes are important, the craft is what I do best. But they are never precious to me. Even if we worked on something for a long time, probably too long, in the end it’s not so much about the product. Those mega-brand formats like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s might have an aggressive approach to growth or marketing . I really appreciate that kind of larger than life attitude especially if you take that approach and focus on identity instead of things. Claiming territories, no boundaries. But I prefer to see it visually. Billboards look good, campaign shots are sexy. The corporations offers the iconography of our time. Working with a Marlboro red, a blue-sky denim packaging felt like the most natural thing I could do in this collection. It’s in our DNA.

I try to feel more than I think. I have a lot to explore with imagery and photo series in new formats and I feel the identity is growing.

grid1

What are you looking for in your collaborators? 

I want to work with new people now, trying to kind of handpick because I’m looking for certain ingredients. In this project I was working with photographer Rémi Lamandé, who added spontaneity and humor and Niklas Bildstein Zaar who adds sharpness. We were going for blue skies and open air. Existential pop.

HAALSS15_941-2

 

Image Credits

Photography: Rémi Lamandé
Art direction: Niklas Bildstein Zaar
Landscape photography: Yoshi Tsujumura & Niklas Bildstein Zaar
Wearers: Sojourner Morell, Rijntje van Wijk, Laia Bonaste, Clara 3000
Hair: Yuji Okuda
Make Up: Cathy

Deeper

  • John Roberts Asks, CAN THOUGHT EXIST WITHOUT THE BODY?

    What are the best non-physical landfills for discarded thought? Do waves transition between naturally occurring substrates and audio signals? Does adrenal fatigue and replenishment in the human brain relate to cycles of euphoria and dysphoria in music? What is the mental effect of visual versus aural repetition? Is all music fictional? Can the language of objects and memories impregnate sound? Are bodies out of fashion? What is the music production equivalent to a green screen in film? What is the best non-physical preservation method for sound? Is film editing a way of ordering memories? Is repetition therapeutic? Are all films fictional? Have physical forms slipped into obsolescence? Did Erik Satie have an anxiety disorder? Is background music parasympathetic? Are physical players more virtuosic than virtual instruments? Is thought finite? Is physical music a fetish? Is reality fictional? What is the most elegant way to float between corporeal and ethereal forms? Do memories deteriorate and fade like audio signals exposed to the elements?More
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c COSMIC WORKSHOP 'Omen' Hoodie

    €120
    Buy Now
  • Dev Hynes Collaborates with OAMC and Adidas on a Capsule Collection

    Under the music moniker Blood Orange, Devonté Hynes has spent the last decade softening the strident ego of mainstream pop with the wistful jazz and new wave tones, as well as musings on identity, belonging, and vulnerability, on albums such as Cupid Deluxe or Negro Swan. Singer, songwriter, producer, and director Hynes, who goes by Dev, brings his solitary sensibility to his other projects, too – whether scoring films and fashion shows, collaboration with visual artists, or, more recently, starring as the face of a capsule collaboration between adidas and OAMC, a menswear label founded by Luke Meier and Arnaud Faeh in 2013.More
  • 032c Cosmic Workshop Collection

    032c COSMIC WORKSHOP 'Morning' Triangle Puffer Scarf

    €80
  • New Arrivals

    Buffalo by 032c Jodhpur Ankle Boot White

    €450
    Buy Now