In an epoch-defining fusion of athletic nostalgia and intimate reminiscences, the JW Anderson Spring/Summer 2024 collection confidently treads where few have dared to venture. This groundbreaking line, while drawing from deeply personal sources, speaks a universal language, inviting spectators to explore their own histories and memories, imprinted within everyday household items and personal experiences. This shift away from streetwear norms, traditionally associated with powerhouses such as Nike and adidas, brings us onto a playing field altogether more unconventional: rugby-inspired fashion.
Serving up a compelling fusion of athletic prowess and homely comfort, Jonathan Anderson’s latest collection is an eclectic feast for the senses. The designer’s sweet tribute to his father, Willie Anderson, the erstwhile captain of Ireland’s Rugby Union team, signaled an unexpected turn. This departure from routine was showcased most noticeably in the unveiling of the upcoming Rugby World Cup’s Irish team jersey, worn by Anderson himself as he took a bow.
Traversing through the spectrum of personal narratives and broader cultural experiences, this collection uncovers the latent beauty in the banality of everyday life. The typical blue and white stripes of Cornishware, the ceramic style that once swept across the British Isles, became the visual leitmotif. Anderson recalls, “It signifies conformity, things that are part of the household and become part of the psychology… things that are around you and become part of you subconsciously“.
In a move that elevates childhood recollections to fashion statements, rugby shirts are reinvented with Bar jacket style hips in both knit and stiff jersey versions. The collection is generously interspersed with oversized V-notches on sweatshirts and fine knits and schoolboy shorts roomy enough to challenge conventional design standards. These are just a few examples of how Anderson has used personal inspiration to breathe new life into ordinary items.
Drawing heavily from knitwear – making up around 70 percent of the collection – Anderson’s work here is characterized by playful creativity. This includes an exploration of raw knitting materials, exemplified by tops fronted with actual balls of yarn. Anderson quips, “Knitting has become such a craze and this is going back to the raw materials“. His transformation of common mop heads into runway-worthy designs further attests to his avant-garde design approach.
The collection isn’t all about knits, however. It also boasts an array of clogs, mock croc shirts, asymmetric folded-hem dresses, and leather overcoats with tabard fronts. These pieces align with Anderson’s overarching design philosophy, transforming the banal into the bold, the plain into the peculiar and the ordinary into the extraordinary.