Check out this interesting interview with J.W. Anderson by Harper’s Bazaar on the designer’s rise to fame through the success of his men’s & womenswear collections and the diverse collaborations with the likes of Donatella Versace & Nikon. Click here to shop J.W.Anderson….
This is the first time that Nikon has collaborated with a fashion brand. Why do you think they chose you?
I have no idea – all for good reasons I think! For me, since I’ve started my brand, a camera has been massively important. You have to record everything as the collection is built up over months, and during that process every single inch has to be photographed, then you try to improve it and make it better.
What inspired the bag?
I wanted to create a bag with Nikon that was JW Anderson but functional, and not a boring camera bag. It had to be something that I would want. I was inspired by one I was given by my grandfather, a very old leather-bound camera, that I wanted to make modern.
This collaboration debuts at the same time as menswear. How important do you think it’s been for British menswear designers to have a dedicated week with London Collections: Men?
I think it’s extremely important. It gives an amazing platform for designers, both new and old. I think we should always realize that modernity in fashion is what is exciting, and that needs to be pushed, and that things have to be sharp for an international market. I think the most important thing is to not get trapped in the dogma of being a London designer because ultimately we are in the modern world and it’s not just for London. It should never be a London ego trip. I think for a while we were trapped in that. It’s always best to keep people on their toes so they can’t sum you up.
You’ve just got back from doing Versus in New York. What was that like?
Yes! It’s a completely different exercise. Ultimately, it was something I really wanted to do for Donatella. I think as a capsule collection it brought Versus back to what it was – I wanted to give her the best that I could, and bring in a touch of what we’re about too. It was a meeting of two minds. For me, it was a very concise, sharp moment. I think it was exactly what it should have been and for me, and what I remember Versus to be, it’s a progression.
What was it like working with such a giant fashion personality?
I never find it intimidating – to me people are people. The only person who could intimidate me would be Obama, or the Queen. Whereas these people are just human, I really don’t care as long as I can sit and have a conversation with them. The minute you worship someone you’re screwed. If you worship someone you’ll never go past them!
Would you ever go to a big Parisian house?
Why not? I really admire Alexander Wang for what he has created. To create a business on that scale, I think fair play. I don’t care what house he goes to if he thinks that’s going to fuel him up.
You’ve received a lot of support from the press – is that hard to live up to?
I think people love to keep the next big thing – I think we’ll be the next big thing for ten years! Ultimately people felt that we came out of nowhere but we’ve been going for seven years, and people are aware of you or they’re not. You need to keep people around you who won’t just tell you what you want to hear, and keep your feet on the ground – because when they’re not on the ground, that’s when it will all go wrong!
How do you think London has changed since you started out?
I remember when I was in menswear and started womenswear, no one had really done that. It’s a random thing to say, but people thought we couldn’t do both. But then the next minute everyone was doing mens and womens. I think we’ve harnessed mens, womens, resort, pre-fall with the same volition for each collection.
What are the plans for the future?
At the moment, we’re working on Nikon, and that’s where we are at. There are a lot of plans for JW Anderson. We want stores, and we might have one by the end of the year. There’s plenty in the pipeline! Ultimately, it’s all TBC, but we want to keep doing everything we’re doing at the level we are doing it at.