When you think of smartly classic British tailoring, the affordably utilitarian Japanese brand Uniqlo probably doesn’t pop into your head.
This fall, your thinking will change.
The fast-fashion retailer will offer a new collaboration with JW Anderson — the celebrated London-based fashion house — starting at 9 p.m. Sept. 21 online and launching at stores nationwide the next morning. (And, yes, you might want to set your alarms for this one; the best pieces go fast.)
The British-heritage-inspired collection, which ranges in price from $29.90 to $149.90 for men, and $14.90 to $149 for women, makes freshening your autumn wardrobe affordable. Both the men’s and women’s collections have something for every Anglophile out there.
Although JW Anderson, led by runway wunderkind Jonathan Anderson, is lauded for its futuristic, way-out-there designs — or “conceptual” as Vogue would simply call them — the brand channeled both the classic comfort found in the fabrics and colors of the British countryside and the versatile, everyday chic of the modern London urbanite for this collection.
“The inspiration for the collection was ‘Modern Britain,’ explains Shu Hung, the global creative director of brand experience and special projects for Uniqlo, in an email. “We focused on updating British heritage classics through fabric, proportion and Uniqlo technology.”
Of course, this is not the JW Anderson’s first foray into the world of everyday retail partnerships. It drew raves in 2012 and 2013 for its collaboration with Topshop, so the brand knows how to find the right balance between wearability and attention-grabbing style. For this collection, Uniqlo also wanted to take his aesthetic to a wider market.
“We worked with Jonathan to translate this ethos by designing through a more scalable means of production, bringing his vision to a larger audience but not compromising on quality or design,” says Hung.
You’ll find the line takes its cues from all things British: school uniforms, hunting tweeds, classic Fair Isle sweaters. You’ll also find typical Anglo textures and fabrics like wool, tweed and tartan.
The standout pieces of the 19-piece men’s collection include outerwear, featuring a tartan trench coat with a tartan lining, and a tartan puffer coat; dress shirts embellished with mismatched pockets and sleeves that can easily go from the office to a night on the town; and T-shirts sporting graphics that Anderson told British Vogue were inspired by the turn-of-the-century French artist Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.
On the women’s front, you’ll find 14 pieces that also include outwear, like a functional, belted trench, and a gray belted coat with frilly, cuffed bows. Other highlights are the red, gray or black sweater dresses with bows at the cuff, as well as asymmetrical skirts in denim and men’s dress-shirt-striped fabrics.
Unisex pieces like the extremely long striped scarf evoke British school uniforms, and the puffer bags will make your apple-picking adventures — or trick or treating — a bit more English this fall.
Chris LaMorte is a freelance writer.