Designer Jonathan Anderson has steadily built his eponymous brand J.W. Anderson over the past decade, initially focusing on menswear before launching womenswear in 2010. Perfecting his trademark of androgynous, cool, and sculptural pieces, his aesthetic has only become more relevant and influential over time (in 2015, his was the first brand ever to sweep up both the prestigious men’s and women’s award for brand of the year at the British Fashion Council Fashion Awards).
In 2013, Anderson took that aesthetic to historic Spanish brand Loewe as creative director after parent company LVMH acquired a minority stake in J.W. Anderson. While the focus of the label is on leather goods, the designer introduced ready-to-wear in 2014 — today, it's one of the most relevant brands on the market.
Part of Anderson's strategy for Loewe has been embracing the house's history of craftsmanship by blending the fashion and art worlds most notably with the Loewe Craft Prize, an annual competition that "seeks to acknowledge and support international artisans of any age (over 18) or gender who demonstrate an exceptional ability to create objects of superior aesthetic value."
Anderson's latest art-minded venture comes in the form of T-shirts celebrating cult American artist, writer, filmmaker, and activist David Wojnarowicz. Settling in Manhattan’s East Village in 1978, Wojnarowicz’s work draws on his experience of being a gay man; after his AIDS diagnosis, his art took on a more political stance, with his pieces becoming some of the most infamous symbols of the crisis in the ‘80s. The visceral photograph of the artist wearing a customized jacket, reading “If I die of AIDS — forget burial — just drop my body on the steps of the F.D.A,” has become one of the most iconic representations of the time period.
Coinciding with an exhibition exploring the artist’s work hosted by the 1988-founded Loewe Foundation in Madrid, Anderson selected four works made by Wojnarowicz between 1982 and 1990 as prints to go on cotton crewneck T-shirts. In an interview with Vogue, Anderson notes how important Wojnarowicz's work still is, decades later. "It’s something you can kind of see today, where there is a real response to what’s happening in society," he says. "Where we are in today’s political landscape and cultural landscape, it is necessary to remember that speaking out is important.”