Jonathan Anderson on his Uniqlo collaboration

“The collection is inspired by my childhood”

In celebration of Jonathan Anderson’s fourth collection for Japanese everyday wear brand Uniqlo we travelled to London to see the collection and have a chat with Jonathan himself. 

Both me and my travel buddy and by now, other half, Linn are huge fans of his work since long time. Jonathan Anderson is not only founder and Creative Director of his own brand, JW Anderson, but the Creative Director of Spanish brand Loewe, both under the French multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. Before starting his own brand JW Anderson and taking over Loewe, Jonathan attended Juilliard to become and actor, but realized he was more about the costume than the actual theater (relate?) and changed course to study at London Collage of Fashion. When graduating he worked as a visual merchandiser for Prada. Also, did I say he was the Creative Director of Versaces underline Versus for a brief moment? And got a full sponsorship to get his own brand started by the British Fashion Council at the age of 26? I could go on forever it seems like. But I won’t. I just wanted you join the fan group me and Linn are hosting. 

Jonathan on the collaboration with Uniqlo

“When working on this collection I thought to myself, what is normality? To me it’s an idea of being in the city and then going somewhere outside. I feel like Britain is in an unusual position at the moment, so I wanted to focus on the positives about Britain, and the countryside being so close to the city is definitely a perk. No matter if it’s my own brand or Loewe or Uniqlo, the same effort goes in, I am unfortunate obsessed my clothing. And this project, unlike other collections I do, is very me. It’s what I would wear. And that makes it very personal to me. It’s the clothing I wear on a daily basis. The pants I am wearing today is actually from the first collection and I bought 10 pairs of them and I wear them every day.”

On his favorite pieces

“I really like the reversable puffer. It reminds me of my childhood. I feel like many pieces from this collection was inspired by my childhood. When I was a child I feel like I grew up most of the time in a fleece so and there is a fleece in this collection that is blue and red and it’s very much similar to what I used to have as a kid. In my family we always wore fleece, no matter the season. Even in the summer, but then we wore the fleeces with cyclic shorts, you should be happy I didn’t bring those into the collection. I guess I just like how life was a lot simpler back then. And these pieces are pieces that lasts. “

…and why he just had to do active wear

“My dad was a rugby player and I remember that he came back from playing the word cup once and gave my grandmother a New Zeeland track which was in his size, he was six foot tall. And I remember seeing her wearing it and it was very surreal. And since then I have had this idea of a nostalgic from that period (the 80s that is). It’s like second skin and very practical but still so cool.”

Jonathan Anderson on being creative

“I don’t really work in different ways when working with Uniqlo, Loewe or my own brand JW Anderson. Every collection starts with research and then developing and sampling and fitting. So in a weird way it’s all really the same. But I do find it harder to create basics because I am so used to doing excess and elaborate. But that is actually why I continue doing this collaboration and why it’s so special to me, because I am trying to do something timeless and it helps me to keep grounded in reality. When you do like nineteen collections a year you can easily get carried away and sometimes when I wake up I don’t know what clothing could be wearable at all. So having a base in reality is helpful in the creative process.”

Why it’s so important to plug out (and have hobbies)

“I love what I do. If I don’t enjoy a project I will therefore not do it. Because it will make me unhappy. But there has been moments when I have been working over the last six years when I have woken up in the morning and just thought to myself why don’t I just buy a house in the middle of nowhere and just dump everything and have chickens. But I realize I would be bored. Although I do have a house in Northfolk where I go as often as I can during weekends and just do nothing. I might do a couple of emails but that’s it. I think of myself as an athlete, if I want to work this much, I cannot be out every night. My dad (former rugby player) has really inspired me in that way. And it’s important to have hobbies!”

And why he keeps reworking classics

“My very first collection I did contained kilts but I haven’t done them for a long time. So I felt like now was the moment to really bring them back. So for this collection we updated the kilt and made it out of blankets. We just layered the blankets and fitted, and cut until they looked like we wanted them to. Kilts are are just so timeless. And I like the idea that both a man and a woman can wear a kilt. For me classics are classics for a reason and I love just working on clothes and reducing it down to just the necessities. But of course with a modern twist that makes them interesting.”

Hobnob at the launch of JW Anderson x Uniqlo in London

Published 23/10/2019

Fanny Ekstrand is a writer, creative consultant and founder of Hobnob. She says she is the master of vintage shopping and knows all the pasta dishes in the world.

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