J.W. Anderson Dishes On His Collaboration With Topshop and Why He Loathes Dresses: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

04 September 2012 by

If you pick up this week’s issue of Grazia you’ll get the exclusive big reveal on J.W. Anderson’s full collection for Topshop, which launces in stores and online 14 September. Let us tell you, it’s mega. With a full world of J.W. to shop from – that means anything from his favourite snap-bands, Sharpie pens and lollipops to a brilliant trend-ticking line-up of his signature looks, plus lots of new ideas as well. All in all, that means it’s the biggest collaboration the high street giant has created to date. Bigger than Christopher Kane we tell ye!

Naturally, we hooked up with the hottest designer on planet fashion to get his thoughts on the project and grill him on important things like what he’d save if his house was burning down… or his love for the Antiques Roadshow. Read on and scroll through the gallery above for a sneak peek at the collection.

So Jonathan, what’s the vision for this collaboration?

I wanted to commit to something that was a full collection of its own, in all different facets, so anyone could buy into any different part of the collection. It had to not be too serious, because after the comedown of Olympics I think people are going to want something easy, accessible and fun. I’m kind of petrified about it coming out in a way. It’s almost too big. Have you seen it? What do you think?

We think it’s AMAZING! Cannot wait to get shopping. Do you have a favourite piece?

We looked back at all of the previous collections and it kind of became like a shopping market of different ideas and just throwing them together. I think that’s how a woman’s wardrobe really works now anyway, it’s not about a flat-line head-to-toe look, it’s a grouping of different objects and things. My favourites? I really like the graphic t-shirt, with the photo print from Jamie Hawkesworth of the back of a boy’s head. I think there’s something modern, when there’s not a face. There’s something about the back of a head that can actually tell you quite a lot… but I like the bat sweater, those hand knitted bat sweaters are really incredible. I think that each piece has a slightly iconic feel.

So this is obviously a top moment for you, but what’s been your career highlight so far?

It changes all the time! I think recently the best moment was the menswear show for spring/summer’13. It was a collection where we were working on it right up to the wire. The night before it wasn’t right so we added two extra elements and it all came together. It was such an amazing moment; we got a lot of good reviews from key people I really respect in the industry. Some weren’t ready for it and they had a really violent reaction, but I actually think that means it’s going in the right direction!

What’s your most treasured possession? Something that you’d rescue if your house was burning down?!

A couple of weird ones... On a superficial note – I have the first editions of Joe’s magazine. I also have a set of diaries that my parents wrote to each other. My dad was a rugby player and away for long periods of time. Those little books are a dialogue from when I didn’t exist and they’re so sentimental. A book my mother gave me called The Death of the Naturalist by Seamus Heany, which he signed for her is another one. My mother is an English teacher and it’s my connection with her.

J.W.Anderson: London Fashion Week A/W 2012 - Runway

J.W.Anderson's A/W 2012 at LFW

What do you think is the best thing about London Fashion Week?

We have an incredible support system which other countries would die for. As a young designer it takes so long in terms on finance to get going. A lot of people see fashion as this totally glamorous being, but it’s a raw reality. It’s very free design-wise in London, so you’ll get moments of genius out of it, even if it’s one or two looks… even half a look.

Is there anything you won’t design?

I loathe dresses! I really do! I will probably change my mind about that in six months. I find them really difficult. I don’t know women who wear dresses. I feel it’s more sexy when it’s separates. Knitwear sells, and it’s because it goes with jeans. I think jeans are genius! I wear jeans! Everyone wears jeans! You have to be able to contemplate wearing something with jeans. You could even wear a dress with jeans, but I don’t believe in that woman at all…. I do believe in a woman who wears a conceptual sweater with a trouser. Maybe I’ll come round to dresses….

Ok, so not crazy about dresses. What do you think for a girl – heels or flats.


And what is the worst trend you’ve seen on the streets?

I don’t blame the girls who wear bad things, I blame the people who design them! You see a lot of people interestingly dressed – and there’s nothing worse than looking like a Christmas tree – but, you know, I just think that a man and a woman can wear the same thing and they can have two different meanings. Ultimately a white t-shirt on a man and a white t-shirt on a woman can be the sexiest. Same as a simple pair of jeans.

So, what’s your guilty pleasure?

I love the Antiques Roadshow! Fiona Bruce, what a legend. My grandfather is an antiques dealer so I’m into it. I also like that programme The Hour - I am obsessively waiting for the new one to come out.

And in between the many collections you do per year, how do you relax?

Hmm… I don’t really relax. I like to vegetate! I’m going to start swimming again. I’ve got a plan of action, inspired by the Olympics, and swimming is the only way I can zone out. I swam until I started smoking… Now I have to do the other to try and quit the other!

What could you not live without?

At the moment, awful to say, probably coffee and cigarettes. That is to change, obviously! I like a newspaper each day too. And the BBC.

And finally, do you think you will always be a fashion designer?

I will do this job until as long as it keeps turning me on. If you didn’t enjoy your job you wouldn’t do it. I think of that amazing quote that Anna Wintour said – when you get to angry with it you have to stop!

Well, please don’t!


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