Why is UNIQLO always sold out
J.W. Anderson designed a collection for Uniqlo. Interview with the designer
Jonathan Anderson designed a collection for Uniqlo that will be available from September 20th in Uniqlo stores and online at uniqlo.com. The collaboration is so exciting because it combines British tradition with functionality and Anderson's high standards of fashion. Harper’s Bazaar met the British designer for an interview in the Uniqlo store in London.
Harper’s Bazaar: A lot of the articles that are written about you start with how well your schedule is and how many iPhones you have. Why did you add Uniqlo to that?
J.W. Anderson: Uniqlo is a brand that I really respect, with a product that I wear every day. I have been shopping at Uniqlo for at least ten years, but conversely I never thought that they would come up to me. When the request came, I accepted immediately.
What do you buy from Uniqlo?
I buy all of my socks, underwear, T-shirts and knitwear from Uniqlo. That's because I like a uniform, I like to repeat things. My day is all about clothes - I don't want to think about what to wear in the morning.
How do you approach the design of something that you wear so regularly yourself? Let's take the T-shirt with the print as an example.
I'm obsessed with graphic t-shirts and recently found these two great illustrations by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, a French artist who has lived in the UK for most of his life. These two illustrations were timeless and at the same time had the sense of humor that I wanted for the shirts - because when I think of Japan, I always think of the fun the country is having.
Is there a reason you designed 33 pieces?
Is it 33? Maybe because I'm 33 years old (laughs). I do it like Adele, when she puts out an album, she names it after her age. No seriously, I really don't know.
I don't believe in the sale in 24 hours.
How long did you work on the collection?
About six months. And it was really strange coming to the store today: I've never seen so much product. I did a cooperation with Topshop a long time ago, but it wasn't that scale, it wasn't global. The Uniqlo collection will be available in countries I've never been to. And I hope that someone who joins J.W. Anderson has not been able to afford it before, can now buy something and is happy about it. I myself always wanted something from Jil Sander and have never owned clothes from Jil Sander.
Do you still hope that the collection will sell out quickly like other designer collaborations?
No, I don't believe in the sale in 24 hours. You shouldn't have to stand in line for the collection, just come relaxed into the store, look at everything, try it on, enjoy and find what you like. I still hope that the collection will be very well received (laughs).
What did you learn about customers when you designed for Uniqlo? Both design and segment are very different from J.W. Anderson and Loewe.
That's why I was so surprised when Uniqlo first approached me. I thought I was too much Fashion. During the collaboration, however, I noticed that we share a lot of the same values: the idea of tradition, the idea of community, the idea of handicraft and the idea of culture. Uniqlo was the same feat of strength as a show. The difference: you design a product that appeals to all body shapes and age groups and is also timeless. Nevertheless, it should be young - after all, we humans hold on to the idea of wanting to be young forever.
Would you say Uniqlo taught you that fashion doesn't have to be that complicated?
I do J.W. Anderson for ten years now, Loewe for three years. Fashion has changed completely and we're just trying to catch up. Brands like Uniqlo have changed fashion. You enter into collaborations in order to learn something. I wanted to understand the power of branding.
I learned how important it is to have a clear brand identity. Uniqlo has great values, it's about simplicity. Not about hype, but about great products. This is particularly interesting because other retailers only use hype to sell their products and they don't always meet the hype.
I'm curious about the hype surrounding this collection. Do you still hope that the collection will spread widely on Instagram?
Yes, I hope so - but I don't know (laughs).
You designed some unisex pieces for the collection. Compared to the stylistically fluid gender boundaries in your collection: What was your idea here?
My starting point for this collection were British classics, which - and that's great - are all unisex anyway. The duffle coat is the same on a woman as it is on a man. Likewise the trench, the white shirt, the T-shirt. Our society accepts that these garments are defined by their function and not by gender. I wish I had designed them all originally. But unfortunately I don't have that, so it's great that I was able to give them new energy with Uniqlo.
I put myself in the position of Uniqlo's customer. For example, I love the brand's cashmere and have tons of sweaters. I like the simplicity. And cashmere is special because you really want to touch people in it. In a long cashmere dress with a turtleneck and bows on the sleeves, we did it again in a particularly cozy way.
With Uniqlo I started to wear fashion again.
What still stands out in the collection are the bright, yet atmospheric colors.
We did a lot of research for this and found incredible patterns in old silk factories that were originally intended for tights. I wanted to transfer these colors from silk to cotton because the products should make you happy.
Isn't that what you always want to make people happy?
Sometimes. But sometimes I want to create an emotional collection, a dark collection - maybe not to please everyone and not to make people happy. With Uniqlo, I was so excited and in a great situation. I usually don't wear a lot of what I design. With Uniqlo I started to wear fashion again.
The highlights from the J.W. Anderson for Uniqlo
Trench coat with tartan pattern, around 160 euros
Down pocket with JW logo, around 30 euros
Turtleneck with stripes, around 50 euros
Wrap skirt with flounce, around 60 euros
Down jacket with tartan pattern, around 100 euros
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