Imagine the stress involved in putting together a first runway show. The dizzying array of details that need to sync up during the pressure cooker of New York’s Fashion Week — models, hair and makeup, venue, invitations and of course the clothes — are enough for anyone to lose their cool.
But Lars Andersson, a Swedish knitwear designer, rises above it all and keeps calm, thanks, in part, to a quick beer and shot. His first runway show has just wrapped at the Soho Grand Hotel, and was such a hit that his publicists have decided to, get this, do it all over again (apparently, there were press and fans who couldn’t squeeze in during the first go-round).
The scene, as one would expect, is lively and loud. Guests from the first show clamor around the designer to offer their congrats, while the publicists organize round two of attendees. Despite all the buzz surrounding him, Andersson graciously shares a few minutes to chat, away from the fray between shows.
Here, in an exclusive interview with Food Republic, Andersson dishes on why he wears black, why he considers himself a craftsman and his obsession with Korean food.
Congratulations on your first runway show. How do you feel?
Amazing! Especially because I just had a drink and a shot.
I’m always interested in what designers wear on a daily basis. What’s your uniform?
Black T-shirt, black cotton pants, black boots. It’s easy. I don’t like to have to care too much about the clothes I wear on an everyday basis.
Speaking of black, you’re known for usually working in a dark palette. But this season’s collection was light and bright. Why the switch?
I just felt the need to do something new, different and fresh. But a bit ghostly.
All your pieces are hand-knit. They’re stunning, but incredibly labor-intensive. Why do you prefer to work with your hands?
It’s a way for me to work in-house. But more importantly, knitting is a craft. And I love that what I do is a craft. Even though I call myself an urban hippie, my clothes aren’t hippie in style. They’re very urban, so the hippie part comes from the craft. I like to create something that isn’t mass-market.
Speaking of crafting, I understand that you prepare lunches for your knitters every day. What do you like to make?
I cook different things all the time, but lately I’m doing a lot of lentil stews and steamed vegetables. Namely because I stopped eating pasta and rice.
Do you typically cook vegetarian?
Yes. I’ll eat meat when I’m going out, but won’t cook it at home.
I’ve also heard that you host fantastic Korean dinner parties, complete with homemade kimchi. Why the love affair with Korean food?
I love the spice, and how it’s prepared and treated. I don’t eat a lot of meat, but Korean barbecue is delicious. I love how you can cook your own meat on a grill in front of you; it just feels healthier. And kimchi is so healthy, too. One day I just decided to try making it at home, and it turned out great.
Now we know you like to eat healthy, for the most part. What do you eat when you decide to splurge?
(laughing) Sandwiches! If I go out to a restaurant, which I do rarely, I eat whatever I want. Just going out is an occasion. Since I cook lunch every day for me and my knitters, I’ll eat leftovers for dinner. I juice a lot, too. I just like feeling healthy.
You’re originally from Sweden. Any comfort foods you miss?
I crave meatballs and mashed potatoes all the time! Seriously, one of my knitters and I always talk about Swedish meatballs when we get hungry. For some reason, I collect knitters who like to eat.
Drink of choice?
Beer and a shot…of something.
Favorite neighborhood restaurants in New York?
Dokebi for Korean and Cafe Mogador for Middle Eastern.
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