It was straight out of Beckman's College of Design in Stockholm and into the atelier of Swedish designer Ann-Sofie Back for Anders Haal, who launched his eponymous line in 2013 after four years working for the Stockholm-based label.
"That's what I wanted to do from the start," Haal explains over the phone during a chilly walk to his studio. He confesses, though, that fashion wasn't always at the top of his to-do list. "Actually, I was a bit slow on that one," he says. "I started in fine arts and then photography, [then] I got into it."
But all three trains of thought go hand in hand when it comes to designing the cool, sport-infused collections upon which he's made his name. "I realized that being a designer was more complete, in a way," he says. "I guess the whole concept is about freedom and diversity. Fashion is a direct language—you don't have to reflect too much."
Plus, Haal's clothes are more about a "wardrobe concept"—a.k.a. pieces you can actually wear and want to wear together. "The challenge for me was to do something that worked in reality. I just felt that I needed to do something more personal, more diverse," he says. "I wanted to design for real people, not just for fashion people." So it makes sense that the basic pieces are the ones he likes the most. Cue classic T-shirts and staple denim among some real conversation pieces, like terrycloth sweaters and tops with Al Pacino's face printed on them.
The label started out as female-focused, but men quickly caught on and began wearing Haal's pieces. Now you'll find the line in the agender section in Selfridges, among other places. "It wasn't originally part of my agenda [for it to be unisex], but it's totally fine," he says.
Haal is stocked at Selfridges, LNCC, Opening Ceremony, and on andershaal.com.