You cannot deconstruct unless you know how to construct. - Alexander McQueen

Sandra Backlund’s Perfect Combination of Tradition and Renewal permalink

The intrinsic value of fashion as a function of art is diminished when we define it in terms of this season’s lines, shapes and the next must have accessory. Being a sucker for strict categorization, I am as guilty of this as anyone. Speaking with designers in an artistic capacity has reaffirmed for me the value of abstractions that set the mind wandering. Sandra Backlund’s design process with knits is often an exercise in discovering a garment’s shape, which may be lurking just beyond awareness. Improvising from ideas rather than sketches is what makes Backlund’s designs, such as those from “Diamond Cut Diamond”, so unique and progressive. “I think I work with design as a form of therapy. When others write poems to deal with themselves, I do fashion. Because I work like that I cannot tell you so much about how a specific collection develops. The only thing I know for sure about Diamond Cut Diamond is that I suddenly got obsessed by the story of diamonds. The typical symbol of wealth, power and success, they hold the interesting double nature as both a glamorous messenger of vanity and a natural everyday working tool. It is the ultimate combination of beauty and purpose.”

sandra backlund dcd cover.jpg
from Backlund’s “Diamond Cut Diamond” collection

More from the “Diamond Cut Diamond” collection:

sandra backlund dcd 1.jpg
Sandra Backlund

sandra backlund dcd 2.jpg
Sandra Backlund

sandra backlund dcd 3.jpg
Sandra Backlund

Backlund’s process of discovery through knits has been a life-long endeavor. “I think I am what you call self taught. Someone (I guess my mum or some teacher at school) probably showed me the basics and how to get started at an early age, but how to come up with new shapes and transform them into garments I learned by experimenting on my own as a fashion student at Beckmans School of Design in Stockholm…I try to stay open minded and I often work with a lot of small parts which I attach to each other in different ways to discover a shape for a garment. Then one thing leads to another and I use that experience to create the next one.”

sandra backlund perfect hurts.jpg
from Backlund’s “Perfect Hurts” collection

sandra backlund perfect hurts 2.jpg
from Backlund’s “Perfect Hurts” collection

sandra backlund perfect hurts 3.jpg
from Backlund’s “Perfect Hurts” collection

It’s great to see more people learning how to knit, a portable handicraft that serves as catharsis, creative outlet or even a source of income. A “new craft movement” is said to be happening here in the U.S., possibly mirroring the one that took place in the late Sixties when emphasis was more on creating and decorating rather than on saving money (economy being the big reason women made their own clothes until the Sixties). People want either to make or buy something that nobody else has. Cute knit robots with stitched Mona Lisa smiles on the cover of craft magazines may convince us that knitting can be cool, but when I look at what Backlund has accomplished with knits I can think of no better motivation to improve on my own technique.

sandra backlund bland page 2.jpg
from Backlund’s “Blank Page” collection

sandra backlund blank page 3.jpg
from Backlund’s “Blank Page” collection

sandra backlund blank page 1.jpg
from Backlund’s “Blank Page” collection

Aside from the decorative aspect, handicrafts such as knitting, sewing or carpentry fundamentally serve to keep us clothed and comfortable, and it remains to be seen whether or not the “movement” is just another trend. “Everyone is talking a lot about how ancient textile handicraft techniques are in fashion right now and how we are starting to get fed up with all the mass production and mass consumption that is going on in the fashion business of today. I don’t know if it is a trend or if it is a change that is going to last but I think that if we don’t do something about it nature will do it for us, weather we like it or not.”

sandra backlund body skin hair.jpg
from Backlund’s “Body, Skin and Hair” collection

sandra backlund body skin hair 2.jpg
from Backlund’s “Body, Skin and Hair” collection

We cannot progress unless we preserve traditional handicraft techniques and move forward with this knowledge by building on it. For Backlund, experimenting with her knits is therapeutic and the resultant looks are modern and timelessly beautiful. “Consciously I don’t think much about trends, it is more the feeling of timelessness that fascinates me. For me, fashion will always be the perfect combination of tradition and renewal.”

sharing:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • YahooMyWeb
  • Furl
  • Netvouz
  • BlinkList
  • blogmarks
  • connotea
  • LinkaGoGo
  • Ma.gnolia
  • RawSugar
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “Sandra Backlund’s Perfect Combination of Tradition and Renewal” 

  1. Brandon Says:

    Thanks for exposing me to this designer. I have never seen knitted wear brought to this high level of craft.

  2. baldwin Says:

    I love the knits… nice and voluminous.


  3. marielle Says:

    this woman has inspired me beyond belief

  4. Akshita Says:

    You are my role model. I hope I get to work with you some day. Your design style is just what I have always been looking for. It is the most bold and expressive style I have ever seen

  5. Style Skilling – paradise kiss | genieface Says:

    […]   […]

Leave a Reply