Swedish Designer Designs Global, Produces Local

Ulf Andersson designs his easy-to-wear dresses with fabric that has been printed in India according to his color selections and designs he culls from clothes once found in his grandmothers’ closets, on wallpaper or any other inspirational point.

But when it comes to making his dresses and tops, he relies upon patterns he has crafted himself and on seamstresses who work in Los Angeles.

“I tried making samples in China a couple of times, but I never liked the way they came out,” said the Swedish designer, who has a studio in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue. “I have a lot of details in my designs, and sometimes that is hard to transfer to a Chinese factory. ... I can’t afford to have huge mistakes.”

Andersson started his self-named label in 2000 under the name Punch Phashion, but it was later changed to his own name in 2005. With a degree in patternmaking from Stockholms Tillskärarakademi, a vocational school in Stockholm, Andersson uses his years of studies to make his own patterns, which account for the level of detail in his creations. His samples are sewn in the back of his studio.

Once orders are placed at the 30 to 40 stores he sells to in the United States, his array of Ulf Andersson dresses and smock-like tops are cut by the same woman he has employed for more than a decade. “I tell you, I treat her like my wife,” the Swedish designer said jokingly, declining to give her name. “You have to be careful. People can be sneaky and could steal her away.”

Once his garments are cut, they are sewn by several sewers in Los Angeles.

For his collection, Andersson uses primarily viscose rayon for Spring and Fall and sometimes silk velvet for Holiday. “I like the way the velvet flows,” he noted.

His styles, which retail for around $220, are reminiscent of the 1940s and the 1950s with a contemporary influence. “They are full-figure friendly,” he explained. “It looks good on women and very feminine.”

If a particular style sells well, he keeps it in his collection and updates it with new prints and colors. He has one style inspired from the 1940s, which has been bought by the same store for the past 10 years.

Andersson’s customers range in age from 26 to 70, and his collection comes in sizes 2 to 14.

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