Many anime fans probably got acquainted with Irish designer Jonathan Anderson’s creative genius thanks to the recent Studio Ghibli collaborations with Spanish luxury house Loewe. The fun-spirited My Neighbour Totoro and the persistence of Chihiro in Spirited Away hand-stitched on luxury house Loewe leather products left a deep impression on many. As Loewe’s Creative Designer, Anderson singlehandedly reinvented the luxury brand’s iconic Amazona and came up with an incredibly think-out-of-the-box design in the form of the Loewe Puzzle bag that may be worn in five different ways. Debuting in 2014, the Loewe Puzzle bag has since attained cult status. Besides the heavy responsibility towards such a well-known and respected luxury brand, Anderson’s eponymous label JW Anderson is no less busy.
However, Anderson's work with Uniqlo truly allowed everyday folks like us to call a piece of fashion artwork our own. He has injected subtle yet functional designs like asymmetry and gathered pleats into our daily staples. Thanks to Anderson, our daily wear, such as tops, bottoms, skirts and jackets, are now affordable and stylish. I chatted with the brains behind Loewe, JW Anderson and JW Anderson X Uniqlo, hoping to rub off a sprinkle of his ingenuity and uncover the inspiration behind his creativity.
How would you describe your design aesthetics, and how does it differ from your eponymous label vs the brands you work with?
Working between different brands and through collaborations, each project I work on has its voice and requires an additional avenue for my brain.
What considerations went through your mind when you first collaborated with Uniqlo in 2017? How has the way you worked together changed since?
It's a sincere and holistic collaboration between our teams – and over the years, we've created a continual build, so new elements in the JW Anderson x Uniqlo wardrobe arise each season. It's very much a meeting of both brands to develop a concept; it's nice.
What's the driving force behind your choice to work with a mass-market brand such as Uniqlo year after year instead of collaborating with another luxury brand?
I admire how Uniqlo is so accessible to different demographics – I want my work to be appreciated globally, and Uniqlo can open it up to all demographics and a global audience. Everyone should have the chance to buy into sound design, no matter where they buy it.
Time and again, you have worked with Japanese brands such as Uniqlo since 2017 and Studio Ghibli's collaboration in My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away for Loewe. What is it about Japanese aesthetics that appeal to you?
I've always been a big fan of Japanese craft – I admire how they can reduce everything to its essence. This season, we've embraced that minimalist sensibility and the idea of stripping things back.
Where do you find the time to work on your eponymous brand, Loewe and JW Anderson X Uniqlo, simultaneously? What are your biggest challenges when creating a capsule?
I think of projects and seasons as chapters in a year. Working between two brands, they address different market areas and have different needs, which helps to differentiate them. It keeps them creatively separate. Then through collaborating, we can branch out further and consider an even wider audience to design for. It helps to keep me inspired.
You are one of the most creative designers, and I'm a huge fan. Where do you get your inspiration, and how do you keep the ideas coming?
I find inspiration everywhere and constantly discover things that I find interesting. I'm just looking for something that excites me – anything from a table, a person, or a piece of art.
Any advice to aspiring designers out there?
I always think it's great to explore new ideas and discover, reinvent, and try new things – but really to keep trying!
Do you practice any form of self-care? Please share with Yahoo readers.
I like to take breaks in the countryside or stay at my home in Norfolk – It's on the coast, so I want to go on walks there. Outside gives me space to think; it's slower and more serene.