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PAUSE Highlights: The Meteoric Ascent of Jonathan Anderson

From Aspiring Actor to Fashion Wunderkind...

Jonathan Anderson’s unconventional approach to fashion has established him as one of the industry’s most celebrated luminaries. As the founder of his namesake brand, JW Anderson, and the creative director of Loewe, he has received international praise and acclaim. It is difficult to imagine a world without his playful and sometimes surrealist creations, but in reality, Anderson had no intention of becoming a designer in his teenage years. Before his broken egg heels and pigeon clutch bags, the Northern Ireland native hoped to become an actor and studied at the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. However, he soon developed an interest in costume design, dropping out to pursue a career in fashion. After completing a degree in menswear design at the London College of Fashion, he worked as a visual merchandiser for Prada under the direction of Miuccia Prada’s then-close collaborator, the late Manuela Pavesi.

PHOTO CREDIT: Bjorn Looss 

In 2008, Anderson founded his eponymous label, initially focusing on menswear. Some of his earliest collections showcased the brand’s dialogue between art and design that we continue to see even today. JW Anderson’s AW08 lookbook featured garments inspired by the work of French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. His intellectual references and gender-blurring silhouettes swiftly caught the attention of the British Fashion Council’s NEWGEN committee, which awarded his brand sponsorship in 2010. That same year, in response to popular demand, Anderson presented a women’s capsule collection, marking his entry into womenswear. Over the course of a decade, a steady stream of accolades followed. Notably, at the 2015 British Fashion Awards, Anderson received a double award for ‘Menswear’ and ‘Womenswear Designer of the Year’—a historic first.

Despite his growing success, Jonathan Anderson refused to become complacent, heading up Loewe as creative director in 2013. Since he took the helm, the Spanish fashion house has undergone a radical transformation, with Anderson’s vision focused on craftsmanship and innovation while remaining respectful of the label’s heritage. Inspired by his childhood holidays in Ibiza, Anderson joined forces with Paula’s Ibiza boutique in 2017. The debut capsule celebrated the bohemian spirit of the cult ’70s fashion hub, and every year since then has seen a new iteration of the collaborative collection.

PHOTO CREDIT: Loewe

The creative mastermind has recently returned to his dramatic roots, designing costumes for director Luca Guadagnino’s upcoming movies ‘Queer’ starring Daniel Craig and ‘Challengers’ featuring Zendaya and Loewe Men’s ambassador Josh O’Connor.

As Jonathan Anderson continues to explore exciting new projects in fashion, film and beyond, discover some of his best design moments below. 

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