The Creators: Patrik Sandberg

Patrik Sandberg photographed by Mark Seliger for BlackBook magazine

The unconsidered, the ill-considered, the castaway, the stepped upon: Journalist Patrik Sandberg wants to communicate the worth of whatever’s on the bottom of your shoe, especially if you find it revolting. In the usually self-congratulatory fashion world, new ideas are often the cause of unease and upturned noses. That thrills Sandberg. Even better is when Internet rage wafts in from outside the industry, for instance, homophobic comments referencing the latest Hood By Air collection, designed by Sandberg’s good friend Shayne Oliver. “That is just the greatest trophy you can have,” Sandberg says.

Hood By Air is just one of many once unrecognized talents he has championed over the years. In 2007, Sandberg–who is now an editor at V magazine–helped to found DIS, a digital platform for highlighting and sometimes inventing cultural trends born of the Internet. Then later he worked on early iterations of VFILES, an online social site that allows for the sharing and collecting–and selling–of new ideas in fashion. Owned by the visionary Julie Anne Quay, it is now central to connecting celebrities like Rihanna and Ke$ha with underground (and online) designers and trends.

It’s all part of the post-Internet fashion moment (“post” in the sense of concurrent with, not after). But the untoward revs up Sandberg, too. He mentions profiling Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three (who Sandberg believes to be innocent), in the same breath as altering the cultural iconography of a cover star like Ke$ha. “I’ll see something in a certain way,” he says, “and if no one else understands, then I feel like I have to make them understand.”

This article appears in the spring 2015 issue of BlackBook on stands now.