Fashion

Jonathan Anderson dissects his Uniqlo x JW Anderson collaboration

by Jeffrey Yan
21.09.2017
Ahead of the launch, the J.W. Anderson designer spills all about the “easiest collaboration he has ever done”.

Launching on 22nd September 2017, the Uniqlo x J.W Anderson collaboration is a deeply personal collection of modern classics refreshed in that electric Jonathan Anderson style we’ve all come to know and love.

Calling it the easiest collaboration he’s ever worked on, read on to find out how the talented multi-tasker combined English wit with Japanese modernity.

Your early shows explored radical concepts but your latest and this Uniqlo collection played with the idea of normality. Why the shift?

This may sound weird, but I actually think that normality is almost the new avant-garde.

When I look at fashion today, it has become so convoluted that normality is even scarier than craziness.

 

In our previous interview, you described your design approach as curatorial? Was it the same for Uniqlo or was it more product-driven?

I think it went from one to the other. When you build a wardrobe, you have to curate the wardrobe – you have to design what goes into it, if it looks right on the rack, if each garment talks to one another; so for me, it was exactly the same.

This one just had a lot more detail and so many different references – references to Irish military clothing from the 1800s, right through to the scarves I used to wear in school, a quilted skirt, the anchor detail on the duffle coat.

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"It has been very free. It’s the easiest collaboration I’ve ever done."

What kind of resources did you have with Uniqlo which you didn't with your own brand?

In my own brand, we tried and failed many times to make puffer jackets. So when I had the call from Uniqlo, the first thing I designed in my head was a puffer jacket.

Because I was so obsessed with the technology they had to make it so lightweight, it was one of the things I was really persistent on. I had this vision of a plaid puffer jacket.

What was the collaboration process with Uniqlo like?

It has been very free. It’s the easiest collaboration I’ve ever done. Through group conversation, things fell very quickly into line. Sometimes when I do shows, I start with a rack of a hundred things, then it goes down to sixty, then thirty; whereas for this, things just appeared.

I think because I kept thinking, would I buy this? Would I buy it without thinking?

What is the story behind the graphics, like the fish tees?

When I go to Uniqlo, I love the graphic tee shirts. And because the collection was based a lot on the idea of men’s going into women’s, and the idea of me wearing the clothing; I wanted something that was personal but also had humour.

I remember seeing this piece by an amazing French sculptor and illustrator called Henri Gaudier-Brzeska who moved to London, who lived for only a very short
period of time.

What I really liked was that he was able to use a singular line to create an emotion, which for me felt very Japanese - a line drawing, something very pure and emotional.

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So there was a cultural meeting of the English and the Japanese in the collection?

I’ve been obsessed with Japanese culture since I was a child. My grandfather ran a textile company in Ireland and one of the first things I remember seeing was a book on Hokusai.

I’ve always been obsessed by his idea of modernity in production. When you look at Japan’s history in terms of modernity, even in architecture, it predates any modernity in the Western world, which is so fascinating.

It is this idea of reducing and simplifying how we live, which I think is important at the moment.

 

 

 

The Uniqlo x JW Anderson collection will officially launch on 22nd September 2017 at the Uniqlo flagship in Fahrenheit 88, Kuala Lumpur. For more information, visit www.uniqlo.com.

This article is a snippet from our exclusive feature on L'Officiel Malaysia October 2017 print issue.

To read the full interview, grab a copy of our October 2017 issue on newsstands soon or visit our Subscriptions page to download a digital copy.

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