Designer Jonathan Anderson explains how he pulled it all together.
Jonathan Anderson is an expert tightrope walker. I don’t mean this literally, of course. (Or, actually, maybe he is, considering his long list of accomplishments. I didn’t ask him directly. It seems possible.) What I mean is the beloved British designer—who helms his own eponymous label JW Anderson, in addition to serving as creative director of Spanish luxury house Loewe and collaborating with, among other brands, Japanese mega-retailer Uniqlo—is a master of the balancing act.
Today, with the debut of the latest Uniqlo x JW Anderson collection, that means focusing on the push and pull between two distinct creative approaches. “I think what's really nice about working with Uniqlo,” Anderson says," is it uses a different part of my brain, which is the rational part, whereas in JW Anderson, I like to explore the irrational.” In other words: He’s tailoring the message to the medium.
“Sometimes when I do collaborations, I like them to be extremities of something,” he says, pointing to his partnership with Moncler, which tends towards the big, the bold, the sometimes theatrical. “Uniqlo is this very different process, where I have to imagine myself going to the store and being able to not think about the purchase.” The idea is to create something desirable, but easy to fold into your own wardrobe. As Anderson puts it, “I have to already naturally be there, with a twist.”
In practice for fall/winter 2020, that translates to British wardrobe staples like duffle coats, fisherman-y sweaters, and wool trousers—all rendered just a bit differently from their forebears. A navy fishtail parka gets blacks sleeves, a flannel shirt gets not one plaid but two, and a nautical stripe pullover becomes a hoodie instead of a crewneck. It’s not something you’ve necessarily seen before, but it’s pretty easy to wrap your head around why you might want to start wearing it.
There’s also, despite the UK inspiration, a thread throughout the collection that’ll look familiar to a more Americanized point of view: classic, Northeastern-y preppy style. “British and American vintage, sometimes when you bash them together—in a weird way like Ralph Lauren—you get this other type of refinement,” Anderson explains. So if you’re feeling like those trousers and that topcoat might look great with a pair of Weejuns, you’re not alone.
Should you plan on making that pairing this fall, though, you shouldn’t procrastinate. Uniqlo’s collaborations have a nasty little habit of selling out, and naturally, standout styles—seriously, folks, that outerwear; sheesh—move at an at-times-alarming rate of speed. So take a look at some of our favorite styles below, and then check out the entire collection at Uniqlo’s website. Clock’s ticking.