Here to save us from a reliably rainy autumn, JW Anderson’s latest collaboration with Uniqlo launches this week and it might just be the best yet. Named 'A Day in London', the AW20 collection continues the designer's ode to quintessentially British style by building upon the same signatures as SS20's 'The Great British Outdoors', with timeless classics like car coats, striped shirts and turtleneck knits given JW Anderson’s contemporary flourish.
Of course, a day in London in 2020 is no ordinary day, and the collection is almost nostalgic in its celebration of a city in lockdown. While the internet has homogenised personal style across the globe, our capital still manages to hold its own. "You have an entire melting pot of different cultures," Anderson says ahead of the collection’s launch. "You can go to a Victorian park, walk around a Georgian area, see modern skyscrapers and then some 1980s flats, all at once. It’s an oddity in that way, it’s so vast, and there’s something like that in our style."
Inspired as they are by the city’s diversity and eclecticism, Anderson’s Uniqlo collections never demand attention. "They never shout 'I’m here!' They’re very cerebral pieces and could be incorporated into everyone’s wardrobe." From the very first collection in the ongoing partnership, Anderson has pushed the idea of accessibility, not just in the pricing – a boon for fans of JW Anderson who don’t have a luxury budget – but also in the pieces’ wearability. From Paddington Bear duffel coats – "He’s a British icon" – to striped socks and crew-neck sweaters, every item could be worn by any member of a modern-day family. "There’s something in the idea of 'normal' which I find incredibly important when designing a timeless piece. I latch onto them because they’re humbling and universal."
Clothes which are tactile, comforting and relaxed feel more important than ever when it comes to getting dressed these days. Although it was designed before the pandemic hit, the collection has an ease to it that befits working from home. A real highlight is the shearling jacket, an evolution of last season's sell-out shearling pullover, available in tan with white collar and cuffs, and black. "It feels like a new type of garment, one of the most accessible pieces of newness. It harks back to a collection I did years ago where I used camel wool and loopback jersey to make shearling, so it’s been nice to resolve it as a finished item here." Another soon-to-be sell-out is the soufflé yarn crew-neck jumper and wide-leg trousers set, which will lend sofa-bound Zoom calls a far more sophisticated air.
The AW20 collection with Uniqlo comes off the back of a busy period for Anderson. His SS21 collection debuted at the end of September, around the same time as the launch of his Moncler Genius debut. Is fashion’s most prolific creative looking forward to a pause? "I’m enjoying this time, it’s less anxiety-driven and, after using my home as a studio during lockdown, I’m able to spend more time with people one-on-one." More widely, what does he make of 2020’s fashion industry in flux? "It’s an exciting moment. It gives us a chance to reflect and let go of the things that weren’t working. While I don’t think you can slow things down – that’s just the modern world – we can try 'less is more'. What we create has to suit a purpose, so it should be about making what’s right for your brand, not for an industry where we got trapped trying to outdo each other. Rather than leave people out, fashion is meant to be a mirror, reflective of the times. I’m embracing the change. For me, next year needs to start a new rhythm, a new aesthetical move, the solidification of a new direction."
While we wait to see which direction Anderson’s compass turns, we can be thankful for his latest Uniqlo collection, making longer nights and shorter days all the more bearable.
JW Anderson x Uniqlo is available to shop now.
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