Sandra Karlsson is the designer of Nikolaj d' Etoiles menswear.  Nikolaj d' Etoiles was found by the two brothers Anders and Tobias Björkstedt who is the third generation of the H&M family.  Summer of 2003 Nikolaj d' Etoiles was launched at a table in the Hôtel de Paris in Monaco on the Côte d’Azur.  With many menswear collections, Nikolaj d' Etoiles stands out on it's own.  Sandra is behind these tailored, debonair, and chic threads; giving the man a distinctive since of style. 


Exclusively Fashion Magazine: Tell me how you became a fashion designer?

Sandra Karlsson: It was actually not an active choice, it has always been there. I knew what I wanted to do before I knew the word. I put my goals in Sweden's best design school, Beckmans School of design. The goal was always to become a designer for a brand where I got to have quite a lot of creative freedom.

EFM: What inspired you to create your spring/summer 2009 collection?

SK: The SS 09/ DEFENDING HONOUR - No location has such nostalgic associations as the Riviera. It reflects a longing to reawaken the unattainable, an existence greater than life. It is all about a privileged lifestyle that goes unquestioned and about perfection achieved. It is contradictory, enticing and utopian. This longing is the source of inspiration for Nikolaj d’Étoiles’ spring/summer 2009 collection, Defending Honour. The collection is dedicated to Linda Christian, Bella Darvi, Agneta, who are no longer with us.

EFM: What inspired you to create your fall/winter 2009 collection?

SK: The AW 09/ EXPLORERS AND ADVENTURERS - The coming collection of AW 09 is inspired by the eccentric solitary being, from train journeys through the old Europe with the multitude of language, border crossings and currencies. In many ways an innocent time, one of naivety towards colonialism, inequality and industrialization, between Napoleon and the first world war. 

But also an inquisitive, forward-looking time, when the traveler romanticized what he encountered; the cultures of the orient, the Caucasian plains or the Himalayan peaks. He traveled with porters, by camel across the Arabian Peninsula and along the Congo River. 

In these environments he nurtured his originality and cured his ills with strong drinks. Here he adopted a bitter, malaria-ridden sense of humor, perhaps aware that he was walking through a world he was about to lose.

EFM: Can you tell us what we can except to see for spring/summer 2010 collection?

SK: The inspiration is the Spanish civil war, (no name yet).

At the beginning of the war, he is proud; he goes out to fight for what he believes. He wears a uniform and his back is straight. All that the war progress, his clothes wears down as well as his hope. For every village he comes to someone helps him to repair his torn clothes, a new patch for each new step on the journey.

EFM: What type of men are you designing for?

SK: For those who care about what they wear, who want something special and stand out in a tasteful way.

EFM: What better way to promote your clothing, is to wear your designs; do you agree?

SK: Not in my case. Our design is only menswear and even if I could imagine wearing some of the garments I have personally always liked the androgyny tomboy look, but I don’t dress in Nikolaj as a principle. Since we focus a lot on just fit so the clothes would not look right.

EFM: What business advice can you give to aspiring fashion designers?

SK: It’s all inside you and your mind is endless. Follow your inner voice; no one knows better than the one who bears all within him or herself, with that said, do not forget to be sensitive to your audience. Do not copy others, they've already done it, others will copy them and you do not want to be a pale copy. Having said that sometimes the simplest is best way, does not make it too difficult for yourself, keep it simple but outside the box. If you fear that your ideas will run out you should probably not work with this.



Click here to watch Nikolaj d'Etoiles runway show


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Interview by Rochell “E” James





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