Jonathan Anderson

PHOTOS: J.W. Anderson - AW11 Collection

Irish fashion designer Jonathan Anderson aged 26 years old has made a massive impression on the fashion world this year.

His perfect boy-girl aesthetics really flourished at London Fashion Week in February. Anderson has created girlish menswear for the past three seasons and this year he has flipped over, creating boyish womenswear. It has been said through the fashion grapevine that his boy-girls are simply more interesting than his girl-boys.

J.W. Anderson is one of those designers who consistently strives to prove that androgyny is doable. He creates collections that both males and females can wear with confidence.

Born in Northern Ireland in 1984, Jonathan William Anderson initially wanted to pursue an acting career. When he moved to Washington DC to study drama he was drawn to the stage costumes in a big way. Anderson then returned to Ireland where he got a job at Dublin’s exclusive Brown Thomas speciality store.

Such was his love of costume design that he moved to London where he received his menswear degree from the prestigious London College of Fashion in 2007. At this stage he had already made his London Fashion Week debut with a jewellery collection made of real insects. He trained then by assisting Manuela Pavesi, a friend and collaborator of Miuccia Prada, who then offered him a job with Prada.

His new womenswear collection is quite preppy-gone-street with a definite British twist. Using British made paisley silk, angora knit, hunting tweeds and the odd rubber collar which is a crucial detail in his collection bringing it right up-to-date edge.

He tells American Vogue this month, “The thing is, I love paisley” he says of a narrow pyjama suit in traditional fabric from Macclesfield, North England. “But the idea was to tweak the colour and mish-mash it up again, so I added the rubber trim for the collar.”

Anderson wants to make affordable clothes using local fabrics, keeping local businesses going and students like his sister in stylish clothes.

“My grandfather was a farmer in Ireland,” he tells Vogue. “That’s gone. My other grandfather worked for a textile company and I’d watch them printing tea towels when I was a kid. Those resources are disappearing. So I think it’s really good when you can support people’s work – who may be just around the corner from you.”

He has made quite an impression on Marc Jacobs too as the legendary designer from New York used the same materials on his fall 2011 collection. “It’s weird when you’ve picked up a trend before it’s happened!” Anderson tells American Vogue.

When asked what inspired him for the Fall 2011, he responded, “Lost in Translation, Smiths fans and country estates.”

-- PHOTOS: J.W. Anderson - AW11 Collection