Notes on a Quote: J.W. Anderson on being Un-Comfortable

Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in Global View | No Comments

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Fashion Quote J.W. Anderson 01

Un-Comfortable Designers

In an article published on September 14, 2013, in the UK The Independent entitled: The discomfort zone: Boy wonder Jonathan Anderson is London fashion’s latest ‘next big thing, Alexander Fury, the newspaper fashion editor, relates meeting with Jonathan Anderson at the designer’s London studio. Although written for a general audience this article is rich in insights on Anderson’s design practice, all useful to fashion design students.

Alexander Fury writes: “Anderson is very much of their balls-to-the-wall school of thinking.

He’s also London fashion’s latest ‘next big thing’. Jonathan Anderson – or JW Anderson, if you read the labels stitched into his garments – is a hot ticket of the week, a designer the press watch like hawks, a designer others copy slavishly. “I don’t care if people copy us all day, I don’t mind that. It means we’re going the right way,” says Anderson, raking a hand through his hair. “If they’re not copying you, then you’re fucked.”

At the end of the article Fury cites Anderson again: “You need to make sure 35 per cent of the collection is something you’re not comfortable with. If you’re comfortable, it’s stale.”

These are big, daring statements which provide two fantastic rules of thumb. It may be that not all designers should follow them. Those designing for a mass market for example, need to be able to surprise their clienteles, but should they be uncomfortable with their own work? Probably not if they are aware of the latest trends! Emerging designers and fashion leaders however, must with every season offer to their discerning public something fresh and new. Being uncomfortable with some of your designs is a sure guaranty that the collection is new. How to confirm it is fresh, that it has appeal? Well that is easy to do if it is being copied! As Katherine Hamnett liked to say, it is the highest form of compliment.

Written by Mark Atkinson

Mark Atkinson

Mark Atkinson began his career working with Katherine Hamnett as an accessory designer before launching his own label, Jean Torry.
He has worked as a consultant and designer for a number of fashion brands, as well as lecturing in fashion at Southampton Solent University and Croydon campus of Sussex University.
Mark is also the author of “How to Create Your Final Collection” (a bible for the fashion design student) published by Laurence King publishing UK.