There can be little doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the fashion industry – runway shows were cancelled or converted to digital experiences, entire design teams were working from home and retail stores were shuttered across the globe.
For some though, this time of business not as usual provided an opportunity to consider new ideas, ways of working and approaches to designing and releasing collections.
British label JW Anderson, founded by creative director Jonathan Anderson, has been using this time to consider how the label can move to a more sustainable offering – both in the materials used to create the collections and the methods by which they are produced.
Enter: ‘Made in Britain’ – a limited-edition collection which, as the name implies, was produced entirely in Britain using surplus fabric and trims during the course of the Covid-19 lockdown in the United Kingdom. Due to the restrictions, the entire eco-conscious collection was conceptualised and produced digitally – with pattern makers, machinists and fit models exchanging fabric and garments via text message, with Anderson and the label’s design team overseeing the process via phone calls, text messages and emails.
The collection itself comprises six ready-to-wear styles and accessories which each bear recognisable JW Anderson motifs including heavy, stonewashed linen and pinstripe shirting, as well as utilising techniques such as patchwork and reverse stitching to ensure the designs are reminiscent of the label’s ready-to-wear collections whilst maintaining their own identity.
“It is really important for me that we become more eco-conscious and sustainable even as a relatively small brand. The idea with Made in Britain was to create something new but be resourceful with materials we already have and keep the production local,” says Anderson. “We’ve also started using recycled materials in our canvas totes and backpacks. These are beginning steps but I want them to be real and concrete as we work to become more sustainable every year.”