In just a few short years, Irish designer Jonathan Anderson is taking the Spanish brand Loewe from sleepy traditionalist to cutting-edge newsmaker.
By Max Berlinger
Photography Steven Miesel
Jonathan Anderson looks innocent, but the way he has imposed himself on the fashion landscape with willful determination suggests that there’s something fiery beneath his boyish facade. And the results are hard to ignore. At his own eponymous label, JW Anderson, the 32-year-old designer has become known for his wildly innovative and intellectually challenging collections which feature his prescient penchant for asexual wardrobes where he blends men’s and women’s garments with aplomb. So it was something of a shock to the industry when the news was announced, in 2013, that the designer would be taking the reins at the iconic Spanish brand Loewe, a much more conservative label on the fashion landscape.
Loewe was founded in 1846, originally as a cooperative of leatherworkers in Madrid. The brand’s Spanish heritage, artisanal history, and focus on leather accessories have remained central aspects to the brand. Yet when Anderson presented his first collection, a menswear collection for the Spring-Summer 2015 season, he made it clear that he would be relying less on history than on transformation.
“Brands need to move at the speed the world does, and today that is fast. We live in the era of content. We put something on Instagram and it gets reposted and it’s everywhere and a minute later it’s gone, over. I don’t see that as a negative thing; it’s the way my mind works, too. It’s not just about consumers not getting bored of the brand, it’s about me not getting bored of it.”
– Jonathan Anderson