Ladies and Gentlemen, J.W. Anderson is back in the building! The cult designer is bringing his kooky-cool and cultish aesthetic back to Topshop for a second triumphant season, and we can’t wait! This next collection is set to be more pared-back and edited than the last, with key pieces such as the knitted sweater and the loafer making a revamped return. Be prepared for lots of silver, lots of plaid and um.. lots of dodos.
We grabbed the frenetically busy designer for a few words before the collection launches.
How did you find the reaction from the first collection?
It was really unexpected and really exciting. It was a full commitment and an entire concept, which was amazing. It was sort of like a breaking point for us and it appealed to everyone which was good.
How did it make you feel knowing you had a second one to produce?
It was daunting to think that I had to outdo it. But this one is more stripped back; it’s more about reducing. The idea is about two sisters – two terrible sisters. There’s a lot more of a kink in it. It’s all about perversion and it’s a bit perverse in terms of feel. You know, playing with ugliness and taste levels and the British kink.
Where do the Dodos coming from?
For me they’re strong symbols – the idea of extinction is a powerful one. It’s like a full stop because this is our last collection with Topshop. But it’s also just a playful little doodle – like the kind of thing you come up with when you’re on the phone and doodling at the same time. It’s the same as how the bat came about – it’s subconscious.
How does your design process work from beginning to end?
For me, it’s an evolution process from beginning to end, right up to when we take the pictures. It’s like a collage; you gather all the different elements then you piece them together. We assemble all the different information, process it, sketch it, then hang it on the body, then go in search of new fabrics and new ideas to try and get a different take on things.
How was it working with Kate Phelan?
Kate’s amazing; she’s the sharpest person I know. I love her.
How is it balancing so many projects at once?
You have to take every day as it comes. It’s a lot of pressure but bit by bit, step by step you get there. I’m a workaholic – and it’s starting to show. I don’t really have any time off at the moment until April!
What girls would you like to see wearing this collection?
I think anyone really! A bit of a boyish girl. We have certain people who wear it like Alexa, but I love to see it on anyone at all. You don’t have to be famous, as long as you love it and you believe it, that’s it.
The shoot – what was the vibe behind it?
It was an idea of two characters in a family. Something that felt a little off-kilter and macabre, but young ultimately. It was inspired by a kind of subversive youth culture – the nose chains, the glares, that long never-ending hair cascading down.
Is there a favourite piece?
The argyle. Yes, they look really chic and they’re modern but also fun.
Any tips for young designers?
Never compromise and listen to yourself. And create a good team. Never be concerned about opinion at the time – and don’t be a slave to the internet! There’s a lot more things out there other than the internet!