NEW YORK — Forever dressed in jeans and a crew-neck navy sweater, Jonathan Anderson was never a stranger to the Uniqlo esthetic.
Now he’s even closer: At a press conference here, the Japanese fashion chain said it would collaborate with the Northern Irish designer and his J.W. Anderson brand on a collection of men’s and women’s apparel for fall retailing.
“Collaborations are incredibly important in design,” Anderson said. “When I think of Uniqlo, I think of things that are perfectly made, that people have spent a lot of time considering. It’s a difficult job, and I think Uniqlo does it very well. Working with Uniqlo is probably the most incredible template of democracy in fashion, and it’s nice that my design can be accessible to anyone, on all different levels.”
J.W. Anderson’s prices — $1,520 for a graphic puzzle knit sweater and $2,100 for a striped, layered Merino wool dress — preclude most of the purchasing population.
The Life Wear collection is expected to combine the heritage of J.W. Anderson with the comfort and fit that Uniqlo strives for, along with comfort and lightness through research and better design.
Uniqlo said its goal with Life Wear is to perfect each piece, made from affordable fabric, with thoughtful details to create the basic building blocks of personal style.
“Much of the clothing we wear today has a long history, and many styles originated from uniforms or workwear,” said Yuki Katsuta, senior vice president of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., and head of research and design at Uniqlo. “The British Isles constitute a treasure house of such apparel, with duffle coats and fisherman’s sweaters being just two examples. In partnering with J.W. Anderson, one of Britain’s most innovative and creative brands, we will tap into traditions while pursuing progress in designs and fabrics, to craft styles that are enduringly appealing.”
What began as an elaborate accessories collection in 2008 attracted enough attention to garner the fledgling J.W. Anderson label a slot on the 2008 London Fashion Week show schedule. Anderson has toted up a number of awards since its introduction, most recently, the 2015 British Fashion Awards for men’s wear and women’s wear.
In 2013, French luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton took a 46 percent stake in his London-based signature label and put him at the creative helm of Loewe, a brand that dates back to 1846.
Uniqlo’s best known collaboration is probably J+, the collection that Jil Sander designed for the retailer from 2009 through 2011. More recently, Uniqlo launched a Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” collection and has partnered with designers Inès de la Fressange and Christophe Lemaire. In addition, the artist Kaws has contributed designs to its UT T-shirt franchise, whose creative director is Nigo.
The retailer remains committed to art, also revealing today it has renewed its multiyear corporate sponsorship of Uniqlo Free Friday Nights at the Museum of Modern Art. Uniqlo since Many 2013 has underwritten free access every Friday night as well as making exhibitions and film programs available to more than 1.6 million people. Uniqlo has said it wants to continue to help promote an appreciation of art and design.
A collection of apparel and accessories inspired by art from the museum’s collection in 2014 bowed with the handle of SPRZ NY, an abbreviation for Surprise New York. The renewal of the license agreement allows to launch new designs and sell them at Uniqlo stores worldwide, uniqlo.com and MoMA’s design store and online store.
“Through our SPRZ collaboration with MoMA, we’re able to constantly surprise and energize people around the world by making world-famous artists and artwork available through our global platform of apparel and accessories,” said Justin Kerr, group officer of Fast Retailing and director of brand partnerships at Fast Retailing Global Creative Lab.
“Making art accessible to everyone is at the heart of MoMA’s mission, and our partnership with Uniqlo plays a key role in introducing our collection to new audiences,” said MoMA senior deputy director of external affairs Todd Bishop.“We’re thrilled to be able to continue this close collaboration to share works by both established and experimental artists with our visitors and the community at large.”