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I like giving classic designs an unexpected twist, says Jonathan Anderson

In an interview with Lounge, the designer talks about his latest collaboration with Uniqlo, and design process

From the Uniqlo x JW Anderson collection
From the Uniqlo x JW Anderson collection

Jonathan Anderson, the founder of JW Anderson, creative director of Spanish fashion house Loewe, and 2023 CFDA International Designer of the Year, has collaborated with Japanese brand Uniqlo, to present a limited edition collection, inspired by the ideas of the British heritage. 

The collection, which launched in India on 3 November, includes jackets, long coats, blouses and trousers. 

Also read: Has Uniqlo cracked the comfortable bra formula?

In an interview with Lounge, the Northern Irish designer talks about the collaboration and his approach to design. Edited excerpts:

The DNA of JW Anderson has always been about unexpected detailing, from exaggerated shapes to shape shifting silhouettes and vibrant knits. How was the process of aligning this playful design philosophy with Uniqlo?

The collection was inspired by the idea of British travel. We wanted to include the types of animals that you would typically encounter within the natural British landscape. We incorporated these motifs into some of the pieces, whether through the printed knits or the collection’s signature socks.

And what about the knitwear pieces, which have always been the key element of your runway showcases?

There’s a very seasonal colour palette for this collection’s knitwear, including some of the classic jumper silhouettes that we’ve reimagined with more playful animal-inspired elements. 

There's a lot of vintage informed pieces in the collection. How much is the past relevant to your design process in general?

I like to visit the British seaside and the countryside when I can, especially staying at my home in Norfolk on the coast. It’s a great place to go on walks. It’s slower and serene, so it gives space to think. I always find it very inspiring. Over the last two seasons, we’ve been looking at this idea of British heritage style and vintage university-inspired dressing, but then blending it with more modern elements and technical materials. 

There’s also the element of exploring the countryside or coastal wardrobe essentials. I really like this idea of taking something classic or traditional but giving it a twist in an unexpected way.

Could you give any examples?

One of my favourite items in this collection, for example, is the oversized trench. It comes in the print, which is a more traditional check, so we wanted to modernize it with a slightly oversized fit. It’s perfect to wear over a cozy knit or a tailored shirt as a transitional piece. There’s also the wool blend duffle coat with the toggles, which is a classic piece but with a more unexpected shape.

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