If the well-received success of Uniqlo's returning +J collection proved anything, is that Jil Sander's stamp in fashion has been missed. Despite the autumn/winter collection's rather heavy assortment of anti-cold pieces, that hasn't stopped the collection from almost selling out in Singapore, especially at a time where travelling out of the country has been next to impossible. Then again, that goes to show just how much of an allure Sander's designs for +J has had since the beginning of the collaboration—timeless pieces that are meant to last beyond just one season.
+J is set to return this 19 March for the spring/summer 2021 season. And with this effort being crafted around a more temperate climate, the focus is on more lightweight pieces that have been reduced to their purest forms. Or as Sander calls is: "A kind of purity that lets us think of regeneration and a fresh start."
We speak to Sander to find out more about her inspiration behind +J spring/summer 2021 and how coming back to the collaboration with Uniqlo has been for her.
ESQ: +J made its return after 11 years in November 2020 to much fanfare from the global market. How did the reception make you feel?
JIL SANDER: Even though I hadn't design for a while, I always felt in touch with my customer. To see that my intuition had been right, was a great joy. The positive response to the +J collection meant to me that I am in touch with the zeitgeist and the aesthetics of the moment.
ESQ: What was the consideration to continue with +J for spring/summer?
JIL SANDER: Of course, the customers' great interest, despite the COVID-19 restrictions, was very motivating. I had the impression that +J is well adapted to the new normal, an emerging atmosphere of understatement and concentration.
ESQ: Does that mean then that the 'new normal' had an influence on the +J idea of a global uniform?
JIL SANDER: We may be less mobile for a while, but we are all together in this global crisis. It is important to express our awareness of this new sober and more attentive situation. The notion of a global uniform emphasises the importance of the individual. It relates to clothes that dignify and underline the personal energy, since we must solve the problems together in mutual good faith.
ESQ: 'The Energy and Lightness of Spring' encapsulates the idea of +J for spring/summer 2021. What's the inspiration behind this?
JIL SANDER: We all went through an uneasy, stressful period. But now, we're seeing light at the end of tunnel. This spring has a special message for us: the earth is coming to life again, and we need this positivity of nature to give us hope and optimism. I was quite emotional in the conception of this collection. I wanted lightweight, multi-purpose clothing to accompany us out of seclusion and to make us feel ready for fresh ventures into the manifold world. And I looked for interesting new materials which connect us to the future.
ESQ: Apart from the core +J colours, you've infused ivory, greys, caramel and khaki. What was the thought process behind the colour story?
JIL SANDER: I experimented a lot, since the effect of colours depends on the textures you use. As I start collections with fabrics, colour decisions go right along with this first phase of design. I don't want to repeat myself, so I am always on the lookout for new shades and chromatic solutions. I also think in terms of a whole collection and strive for a colour story that allows for multiple combinations, almost in a painterly way. And since +J has a wide range of customers from all over the world, I take the different complexions of mankind into consideration.
ESQ: Do tell us about some of the new aspects that make up +J spring/summer 2021.
JIL SANDER: A dress and a summer parka are realised in a papery, polyester silk material which makes them comfortable for widely different occasions. There is also a lightweight and light dry trainer shirt from an absorbent material with a super 3D cut.
ESQ: How should customers approach +J spring/summer 2021?
JIL SANDER: The spring/summer 2021 collection concentrates on light fabrics, conceived with layering in mind. The combination of individual pieces produces interesting proportions. This free-play of combination is an integral part of the collection.
Scroll through the gallery above to have a look at the menswear looks of +J spring/summer 2021. The full collection will be available from 19 March 2021 at the Orchard Central Global Flagship and ION Orchard stores, as well as online, with selected items available at Uniqlo stores islandwide.