JW Anderson x Alasdair McLellan – Size Matters

by Katie on January 10, 2018

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Jonathan Anderson has grown up in the fashion industry’s eye, from wunderkind to seasoned veteran in just a decade. Possibly one of the most avant-garde designers working in London today, Anderson sees his men’s and women’s clothes as interchangeable, which usually means some challenging menswear looks, including co-ordinating strapless tops and frilled shorts, and jumpsuits with awkward 1980’s proportions, seemingly fashioned out of old bedspreads. This is probably why, along with many other brands, Anderson has chosen to swerve this season’s menswear showcase and merge his men’s and women’s catwalk shows in February.

Much has been made of Anderson’s working practices, pulling together collections via mood boards, possibly containing old Bernard Willhelm catwalk shows, Lulu’s home shopping collections, and swatches from Hobbycraft. The synthesis of these disparate ideas is usually a fully-formed separate entity in itself, rather than just being an assortment of other people’s ideas (although I shouldn’t knock that, Victoria Beckham’s made a lot of money out of it).

Anderson’s label has garnered a lot of attention over the last decade, and in 2013 received an investment from LVMH in exchange for the designer’s revisioning of Loewe, a storied Spanish leather house in dire need of currency. Loewe’s turnaround has been nothing short of phenomenal, with Anderson winning the Accessories Designer of the Year at the 2017 British Fashion Awards, but how does Anderson manage the upward trajectory of his own business? How does a label which is, essentially, quite a leftfield proposition, grow into a household name?

In the mid-1990’s, Gucci Group (as it was then known) gave its new acquisitions Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney an ultimatum – they basically had to start turning a profit. This led to McQueen’s collaborations with Puma and Samsonite, and Stella McCartney’s ongoing partnership with Adidas, and the launch of her first perfume. These collaborations allowed the designers greater exposure, and another revenue stream, whilst essentially capturing the ethos of the brand. For instance, McQueen’s luggage featured moulded ribcages and animal skin. Anderson is no stranger to collaboration, having worked with Steven Meisel and Larry Clark in the past, but this season sees an unprecedented amount of gateway Anderson product, from his second collection for Japanese high street chain Uniqlo, and some sparkly trainers and logoed Chuck Taylors for Converse.

Another rewarding association has been Anderson’s hook-up with iD photographer Alasdair McLellan as part of his Workshops project; McLellan’s nude portraits of striking young bucks and cloudscapes printed up on T-shirts, mugs, posters, keyrings, and most probably a cock-a-day desk calendar. Strikingly reminiscent of the late 1980’s range of Body Rap t-shirts photographed by Johnny Rozsa, these are all strictly limited, affordable and accessible. And who doesn’t love a bit of gratuitous nudity? Launched during London Fashion Week Men’s, everything is selling out fast, so get down to Anderson’s Shoreditch store or visit online, ASAP.

Written by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) exclusively for katiechutzpah.com

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