Anna Karin Karlsson

LM:  Your eye wear is incredibly daring, confident and unforgettable. Do you design with a particular type of personality in mind?
AKK: Yes, I design for people with big dancing hearts who don’t need to hide by fitting in and being the same as all the others. For the romantic who always craves beauty and has a true depth in her choices. 

LM: How would you describe your style; are your designs inspired by your personality and life style or by nature? Example: “black horse” and “killing kitten” collections.
AKK: I design accessories that I do find attractive myself and many do reflect my personlity and a vivid imagination. ”Black Horse” was from the start a song that I started writing that then turned into a pair of sunglasses. ”Killing Kitten” was an extension of the other cat ears I’ve done but with the thought of no longer wanting to be the good girl but the wicked super hero that lives deep inside all of us.

LM: Which is your most favourite collection so far & why?
AKK: I still enjoy my first collection as I put years of thought into that and I think those pieces will be selling in many years to come. I think they are timeless. My latest collection ”Decadence” that will be in stores worldwide from 2015 was great fun to create as I used luxurious materials such as real gold and silver, and it was an amazing experience to produce the campaign shoot. I shot it in an old castle outside Stockholm with star stylist Bea Åkerlund as the model. We had so many outfits for the shoot we had several rooms filled. It was a once in a lifetime shoot, both as an experience and as a result. Amazing!

LM: Some of your glasses are very theatrical & almost mask-like. Is that your intention for a person wearing your glasses to transform into a different personal fantasy?
AKK: Each morning you decide who you want to be and where you want to take your life. I for one, choose to bring in beauty and all things extraordinary. I feel more comfortable looking like a fantasy than blending in. 

LM: Do you still act and record music? How does designing eye wear, acting and music feature and what are the roles that they play in your life?
AKK: I still write music and I will bring it deeper into my work when time allows. I don’t act these days but speaking of it makes me want to. Never say never…

LM: It says that a pair of Christian Roth sunglasses was what made you truly realise your calling. Can you describe what you felt at that moment? Do you have a picture of that particular pair of sunglasses? Do you still wear Christian Roth? 
AKK: It was a model called the Christian Roth for Optical affairs 5000. It instantly made the wearer more beautiful and glamorous. I own around 50 pieces of Roth sunglasses but I only wear my own work these days. 

LM: Name some of the memorable personalities you met at the Bond Street practice, and how they have influenced you today.
AKK: I met Kings, princes, moviestars and politicians from all over the world. I started to work there as a teenager having just landed from a small town in Sweden. I learnt alot about people with different backgrounds, from different countries, religions and views of life. This shaped me and made me very confident to deal with people, a great advantage when opening my own business. 

LM: Tell us what made you decide to come out on your own? Describe your journey and its most memorable moments.
AKK: When I returned to Sweden after 16 years in London I had no job or a real plan of what to do. I moved to a cottage in the forest in a remote part of Sweden and isolated myself with my son and started the thinking process of creating the most beautiful collection of eyewear I had ever seen and that I could possibly make. Though I know an artisan who handmakes frames in Europe, it wasn’t until I met a company in Hong Kong that works with HD acetate that I could realise my dreams. Production wise I make very tricky products as we invent materials and methods. When my first collection arrived to the cottage I slept with the sunglasseses in my bed as they were so precious and I didn’t want to loose sight for a second as to where I was heading. I worked 16-20 hours a day, 365 days a week during the first year of business, to get to where I wanted to be in life and to make sure I became as successful as I always knew I could be. Some of my most memorable moments are winning Swedens most prestigious fashion award ”Guldknappen” (The Goldbutton), dressing all the world’s popstars and celebrities (Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, Madonna), appearing in fashion magazines across the world and selling in the most beautiful and presigious stores (Bergdoff Goodman, Net-a-Porter, Harvey Nichols).

LM: What is your typical design process like and how long does it take to design a particular piece of eye wear? 
AKK: I normally visualise my frames as in a film, then I draw them and then I will find a way to produce them. A frame can take a couple of months to make or a few years depending on the result I get. I won’t release anything until the result is divine.  

LM: You have recently expanded into optical eyewear. Tell us about your decision to embark on this venture and how it has been for you. What are your plans for the future with regards to eyewear?
AKK: The Eyewear goes hand in hand with the sunglasseses and has had a warm welcome by stores and clients. The future is to see many people wearing my eyewear, it brings me much joy. 

LM: What is your opinion of Google glasses? Do you have any intention to design smart glasses in the future & why?

AKK: I have never tried smart glasses so I cannot comment on the usage of them, but I would love to design a pair as I reckon I could make them glamorous. 

By Li Lian LIM

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