ASGER JUEL LARSEN INTERVIEW (LOGO.EC 11.04.13)
It’s fair to say that Danish-born Asger Juel Larsen isn’t your usual menswear designer. Overlooking fashion’s current fixation on luxe sportswear shapes for statement pieces that burst with futuristic impact and an industrial, gothic vibe that still manages to feel sophisticated, his A/W13 collection is both aggressive and fun. We catch up with Larsen to talk pushing boundaries, refusing to conform to seasonal trends and what his worst fear is…
LOGO: A/W13 draws on a whole slew of influences like gothic, urban, cyber, ‘90s… do you think just anyone could wear these designs? (Like, would you ever want to see a legion of guys in the ‘90s flame ensemble walking down the street?)
AJL: Basically, I like contrast, and for the A/W13 collection I played with clichés such as fire and ice, heaven and hell or past, present and sci-fi-ture. Throughout my work, I adapt different youth cultures (most of them I was involved with myself growing up) and mix them with something more grown-up, and that’s also where my tailored pieces appear. The hard part is making it all come together. For this specific collection, I wouldn’t mind seeing some kind of gang wearing the metal logo emblems.
LOGO: Looking at the story behind each collection, it feels like you’re designing for a unusual kind of person – a lot of labels use (kinda boring) words like ‘sophisticated, ‘confident’, ‘modern’ etc when describing their ideal customer, but you’re talking about a guy who fucks people off, gets in bad situations, starts riots – yet he’s vulnerable too. Fair comment?
AJL: It’s ’90s rave for the brave, and this guy really just want to have a good time. It would be nice to see fashion come down a notch though. I really like making collections and I have fun with it, but I make it work for myself, mostly ’cause I have another life when I’m not in the studio, and a lot of friends that have other careers.
LOGO: Your diffusion line (A.J.L. Madhouse) is partly themed around defying seasons – as the period between each season gets shorter (what with rising trends like Resort, Pre-Fall etc), a lot of designers are feeling the pressure to come up with new designs faster to stay current. What are your thoughts on this?
AJL: The A.J.L Madhouse line is the best thing that has happened to me since I got my first Dino Rider. Doing something that’s not shaped around a season is such a relief. It’s really just my bad humour on printed sweat suits, tees, caps and beanies.
LOGO: It feels like a good time for Danish menswear right now – you and designers like Astrid Andersen are pretty much leading the field in a lot of ways. How are your designs received back home? Having first really established yourself here in the UK, do you think your work resonates more with British fashion?
AJL: It’s important to go abroad, especially if you grow up in a small country. Me and Astrid both studied in London, and of course you change your perception on some stuff during college. During my studies, I enjoyed learning about the traditions of British tailoring. It’s necessary to know the craft before anything else. The weirdness of what I do more originates from my own youth – coming back to Copenhagen to show has been a really nice experience.
LOGO: To me, your designs are all about pushing ideas to the extreme – do they work well as part of joint collab collections? What designers/brands could you imagine yourself working with?
AJL: Each season I do collaborations, but the creative side of things has to be there right from the starting point, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. For S/S14 I’m doing a collaboration with Danish outerwear label Rains. We’re making some heavy-duty waterproof accessories and jackets. Doing a collaboration is getting to do something that you don’t have the ability to do yourself – or ’cause it’s fun or weird. For a future project, I wouldn’t mind collaborating with John Malkovich and his Technobohemian.
LOGO: It’s refreshing to see men’s designs that land outside the current craze for streetwear staples. Do you think that street has become too dominant a theme in today’s menswear?
AJL: Mixing is important. In my world, you can’t only have one thing standing alone – it’s too obvious. I try to blend the whole thing up as much as possible, and hope for the best in the end.
LOGO: You’re known as someone who likes to breaks convention in his work – looking back on your career, are there any particular pieces/concepts that you think could have gone even further? And if you could take over any established fashion label for a season, which one would you most like to see getting the AJL treatment?
AJL: In the past, I worked quite a lot with alternative materials like metal, knitting in rubber, among others. I do miss the careless way of creating back then. Instead of a big fashion house, I would much rather do costume design on a big sci-fi film in Hollywood.
LOGO: Have you had any ideas about Spring/Summer 2014 yet? What kind of themes/looks/concepts can we expect to see?
AJL: We’ve almost finished making all the patterns, so ya, not long to go. I can’t say too much, but we’re working a lot on fabric development.
LOGO: And lastly…
Favourite piece of clothing? “Cut off black vintage tee.”
Perfect date? “Straight to bed.”
What’s in your bag? “My computer.”
Worst fear? “Not having travelled enough.”
Best party jam? “Marilyn Manson – ‘mOBSCENE'”
Interview: Charlotte McManus
Posted on 10/06/2013, in Fashion and tagged 90s fashion, 90s rave, asger juel larsen, asger juel larsen aw13, astrid andersen, charlotte mcmanus, danish fashion, designer interview, logo branded culture, logo.ec, mens fashion, menswear, rains. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.