You might know Jil Sander as the founder of her eponymous brand (which she has left since 2013) that’s known for minimalist silhouettes that you’d want to wear for work and play. Or you might be familiar with her collaboration with Uniqlo in 2009, +J, which spanned three years following a partnership between her fashion consultancy firm and Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing.
If you missed the minimalist silhouettes that the designer is known for, the good news is, she is having another collab with the Japanese brand, +J x UNIQLO, which will be released on November 20 in Singapore.
Read our interview with her, and some of our top picks from the collection.
It’s been over 10 years since your first collaboration collection launched with Uniqlo. Tell us what it’s like to partner with the brand again for FW20.
I really enjoy working with Uniqlo again. I value the resources, the logistics and the know-how of this great Japanese company.
What has been the most notable change, or changes, these past 10 years and your response to customers’ needs in terms of design? Has something remained constant over these years?
My design attitude hasn’t changed. I still look for deceivingly simple, but highly sophisticated solutions to contemporary problems. But the world changed a lot. In our times of crisis, we want more essential clothes with an ethical dimension. They should shelter us, show our attentiveness to details and convey our energy to face the world. They need to give us a fresh start.
What inspired you, for example regarding colours, silhouettes, fabrics, in designing the new men’s and women’s collection?
In our actual situation of more distanced social relationships, it is important to keep the individual aura of a person well intact. That’s why I was looking more than ever for 3-dimensional forms and attractive movement. This aim is achieved by quality fabrics with standing power, interesting weaves, meticulous workmanship and colours which are reduced, clear and becoming.
What message do you wish to convey customers about this collection?
The message is to take heart, to stand your place and invent yourself anew according to the problems everyone has to solve.
Any challenges this time for you to create the high level of design that you are used to, but at the accessible and affordable prices that UNIQLO offers?
Our aim is to offer high end sophistication at democratic prices. Of course, this process is challenging. But I am confident that we resolved the obstacles and will surprise our customers with a desirable collection.
Which pieces from the collection would you yourself like to wear and why?
To me, my design is very personal. I wouldn’t want others to wear clothes I don’t wear myself.
UNIQLO is known for being a Japanese brand with its own unique concept called ‘LifeWear.’ Is there anything in particular that interests you and inspires you about this concept that you have referred to in the new collection?
Our formula, when we started with +J ten years ago, was: “Luxury will be simplicity, purity in design, beauty and comfort for all. Quality for the people.” Nothing has changed in my vision.
What is your passion today?
I am dedicated to hand on my experiences as a luxury designer and provide high quality clothing to a democratic multitude.
How do you relax during busy times?
Nature is always there to relax and ground myself. I am taking long walks and tend to my garden.
Please share with us your favorite place in your home city of Hamburg and why.
My favorite place in Hamburg is the Alster lake in front of my studio windows.
Have people’s relationships with their clothing changed at all due to the current global pandemic? And how do you think this collection will be perceived by UNIQLO customers in this new context?
I feel that people want clothes which express the new situation to themselves and to others. They are more serious minded and look for something that supports them mentally and aesthetically for the tasks at hand Sustainability
How important is sustainability today in the fashion industry and has this changed at all over the past ten years?
Sustainability is a major topic for +J, supported by UNIQLO all the way. I care for nature and do everything in my power to assure that it will be there in all its diversity in future times.
At first glance, you might think that the pieces from this collection, which includes winter jackets are coats, are not wearable in Singapore. But don’t brush it off yet because 1. You can still buy your fave pieces and keep them for your next autumn/winter holiday, and 2. there are pieces that you can wear out and about (and to the office) in Singapore. Here are a few.
- jil sander