Photo by JASON HO
SINGAPORE - British fashion whiz Jonathan William Anderson is a bit of a quiet genius. He initially pursued a career in acting, until he started working on the stage costumes of A Midsummer Night's Dream in Washington, DC, which stirred him enough to study menswear at the London College Of Fashion, where he graduated in 2005.
The man then went on to craft out his eponymous label - JW Anderson - in 2008, initially as a men's collection, before branching into a capsule offering for women for Autumn/Winter 2011.
"I wanted to do menswear because I felt there was an expanse to be able to gain confidence to change things in it. Men's is just as important as women's for me," Anderson told TODAY at the Grand Park Orchard Hotel last Friday. "The kind of relationship between the two is extremely important for me."
The 28-year-old was in town to conduct the only global media preview of the collaboration, JW Anderson x Topshop, as well as attend the collection's launch party, which was held last weekend.
J.W. Anderson. Photo by JASON HO
We love JW Anderson x Topshop. How did the partnership with Topshop come about?
JW Anderson: I was approached by (Topshop's) new creative director Kate Phelan and it was something that I was really intrigued by. I offered this idea of doing this supermarket concept and here it is. When I started seeing the garments coming out from production, it was incredible to see the whole commitment to the whole clothing and imagery. It was incredible to see it as a global picture for our brand, which is relatively unknown. It was very exciting.
Can you walk us through the collection?
The idea was meant to be kinda like a contemporary wardrobe with classic pieces like a shirt or a simple black jumper meeting more seasonal pieces but still, the idea was to create an icon within each piece. The idea was a lifestyle, what JW Anderson would look like as a brand, and what the whole physical concept would be within a store. So it was kind of a sneak preview of what the brand would be in the future ... the main idea was to just show a montage of pictures of what Britain is really like.
Your designs have been worn by luminaries such as Alexa Chung. Were you surprised at the success of your women's collection?
Yeah, it's gone very fast. I've worked extremely hard, but it's been a shock on how fast it has gone, but on the other hand it's exciting. Really exciting. You know, I love women's wear, I like being able to design through men to get to women. I've always believed in a men's/women's wardrobe kind of relationship.
And you just finished presenting your Spring/Summer 2013 show in London. How did that turn out?
It was really well received, which was really good. It was called the treatment room (and we explored) new fabrics and new techniques. We tried to get fabrics to look like things, (and create) the idea of solving problems and trying to make fabrics that look heavier, lighter. For example, neoprene can sometimes be very heavy so we tried to come up with something that was lighter. We explored all the fabrics we've been developing months before and we were just trying to hone into singular silhouettes.
J.W. Anderson. Photo by JASON HO
Do you still have a desire to act?
No. Since leaving school, I find that the process of designing is extremely useful because clothing is about building characters, and each season is about a new character, a new facade, to the woman or man that you have. And I think that's what's interesting.
Tell us more about your second collection for Topshop, which drops in early 2013.
It's in the works. It is gonna be another chapter from here. It'll be lighter and it's gonna be more of a summer collection. It'll have more prints and more elaborations on basics.
JW Anderson x Topshop collection is available at Topshop ION Orchard and Topshop Knightsbridge.