Jonathan Anderson: 'Creative direction is about editing'
Jonathan Anderson focuses on "making a script" and editing down concepts when putting a collection together.
One of the industry’s most feted young designers, Jonathan runs his eponymous fashion brand J.W. Anderson, founded in 2008, and has the creative helm at Loewe, the LVMH-owned brand based in Madrid best known for its leather goods.
Famed for his more idiosyncratic aesthetic, the Northern Ireland native now oversees 12 collections a year for the two brands, hopping between London, Paris and Madrid on a regular basis. Of his various lines, Jonathan says the creative process begins with a "giant patchwork of information" which he eventually whittles down into a cohesive collection.
"Creative direction is not sitting and designing an entire collection," he told Business of Fashion. "For me, it’s about editing and making a script."
Jonathan's Autumn/Winter 2016 collection for Loewe shown in Paris in March (16) featured a winning balance between the house’s luxury heritage and his own personal aesthetic. Models wore sculpted coats and dresses with handkerchief hems in leather in cotton, which were accessorised with cat mask pendants and, of course, a stream of Loewe leather pieces including variations of his Puzzle bag and the classic Amazona tote.
But while he has his signature style, Jonathan isn’t too hung-up on other brands or high street labels referencing his garments.
"I think we lived in this period of designers as kind of like oracles. So, the natural thing was that high street copied from these designers…. We can bring it back. You can take a bit from here and a bit from that. But we don’t get precious," he said.
And of juggling his hectic schedule of designer for two brands, he stresses he’s in it for the long haul. The designer believes it takes time to create a new language within an existing heritage brand such as Loewe, and there are no quick fixes.
"So it’s trying to jolt it but at the same time ensure that people are coming. You’re dragging in new customers and keeping the existing ones. This is what is the hardest," he explained.