The world renowned fashion designer Jonathan Anderson founded his brand, JW Anderson, in 2008. In 2013, he was appointed as creative director of the Spanish design house LOEWE, and in 2016 launched the LOEWE Craft Prize, which was first awarded to wood turner Ernst Gamperl in 2017.
In this interview, he told Crafts magazine about his love for craft, his collection of ceramics by such names as Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, and why he set up the craft prize.
How did you get into designing clothes?
Well, I actually first went to drama school, but I ended up kind of falling into it by designing windows for Prada. It was from there that I became obsessed with design and wanting to work in fashion.
Did you grow up in a making household?
I didn’t grow up in anything to do with fashion, but my grandfather was a textile designer for print so it kind of rubbed off. I grew up in Northern Ireland in Derry and I used to go to the Ulster Museum a lot. It has a very good craft section, and a great modern British collection. But I think also going to the factory to see fabric being printed with my grandfather really got me into this idea of making and the art of making. Ireland is one of those places that is very craft oriented, so it’s almost like it’s built into you.
Where do you go to uncover new makers? Do you have any favourite galleries or even cities?
Anywhere I go for work – I went to South Korea recently, for instance – I like to try and buy something, and to find galleries that specialise in craft. I’ve become quite addicted to finding new things, so I suppose it’s sort of an ongoing process. And actually by doing this prize with LOEWE, it becomes an amazing way of seeing everything that’s happening globally. I suppose my biggest thing is probably ceramics – they just seem to be something I always stumble across. My grandfather collected early British delftware. I think there’s a tactile quality. There’s something about it that I can’t really explain, something so physical.