Curated by Highsnobiety and presented during the time period formerly known as Paris Men’s Fashion Week, “Not In Paris 2” is our second in a series of bi-annual digital exhibitions celebrating creativity in the age of remote interactions. Head here for the full series and cop our new merch via our online store.
Live from his London studio, it's JW Anderson on his new sneaker collection! Or, as we say in his parlance, his "trainers."
Long a maverick of collaborations (which have ranged from filmmaker Larry Clark to erotica icon Tom of Finland), Anderson has a storied history working within the world of shoes. His work with Converse in particular (for whom the designer memorably created the Run Star Hike silhouette) has proved to be rich fodder for inspiration, as it has now led to a benchmark moment in the Anderson story: his first set of sneakers launched from his own brand.
In an exclusive video interview for Highsnobiety's “Not In Paris,” Anderson digs into the process of crafting his inaugural trainer. It all began with revisiting "...something early gym shoes — that primitive form of craft where you have leather onto canvas, roughly stitched on."
"The most essential thing is the base shape," he continues. "The exaggeration of the toe cap, almost cartoon-shaped. Sneakers are incredibly technical to make, and I wanted to find a balance between the hand of the maker and the technology at the same time, so it's not over-prescribed. I like that these feel rough, and more raw."
Of course, those of us with innately fluorescent sensibilities will be drawn to the eye-popping array of colorways. Anderson affirms he wanted to keep it "as color-blocked as possible, really something that was just dipped into colors."
While the line between sneakers and high fashion has never been more blurred, the formal elements of its construction seem significant enough for it to be a step outside a designer's comfort zone. But Anderson sees it fitting wholesale into the continuum of his aesthetic. And in sneaker culture, he finds something worth celebrating: "[It's] fetishism, shoe as the cultural object. And it's cross-generational, it's incredible."
Look out for JW Anderson's new trainer collection, arriving this May.