After almost a ten-year hiatus, Uniqlo's collaboration with stalwart minimalist designer Jil Sander is making a return. The +J collection—known for its crisp white shirts with artfully designed details—made its debut in 2009 and ended in 2011. It was the concept of good quality and well designed clothes that were transeasonal and not enslaved to any trends, and affordable that drew many fans.
Sander said in a press statement: "I set out to define the global modern uniform with this in mind: Clothes should be long-lasting and enduring. They should serve the wearer and give her or him the energy and self-assurance which is so much needed in our global reality."
The +J autumn/winter 2020 collection is set to do just that. Marked by Sander's minimalistic and easy palette of blacks (she calls the shade she looks out for 'double black'), whites, blues, and greys, with infusions of rich and deep hues of burgundy and khaki, the collection's range includes everything from blazers in various cuts, down to leather accessories. While it is an autumn/winter collection (perhaps it's time to stock up on down jackets and wool coats?), there's plenty of lightweight options in the form of those signature +J shirts done in multiple silhouettes and treatments, as well as T-shirts and chinos. They're also priced at what one would normally get from a Uniqlo collaboration: from SGD29.90 for a long-sleeved T-shirt in Supima cotton, to SGD329.90 for a cashmere-blend coat.
Essentially, the the return of +J is in true Jil Sander form—these are clothes that will be part of your wardrobe for years and seasons to come. We speak to Sander about coming back with a Uniqlo collaboration and her new perspectives on fashion.
ESQ: The last +J collection was released nearly 10 years ago. How does it feel partnering up with Uniqlo again for autumn/winter 2020?
JIL SANDER: I really enjoy working with Uniqlo again. I value the resources, the logistics and the know-how of this great Japanese company.
ESQ: What has changed within that 10 years, or perhaps, remained the same?
JIL SANDER: My design attitude hasn't changed. I still look for deceivingly simple, but highly sophisticated solutions to contemporary problems. But the world has 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.
ESQ: What was the approach like in designing the +J collection for autumn/winter 2020?
JIL SANDER: 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 three-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.
Our formula, when we started with +J 10 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.
ESQ: Is there a message that you'd like to convey with this collection?
JIL SANDER: The message is to take heart, to stand your place and invent yourself anew according to the problems everyone has to solve.
ESQ: You've been a designer for more than 50 years now. What role do you see for yourself in the fashion system?
JIL SANDER: I am dedicated to hand on my experiences as a luxury designer and provide high quality clothing to a democratic multitude.
ESQ: There has been a lot of discussions and moves within the fashion industry surrounding sustainability. How important is it for you as a designer?
JIL SANDER: 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.
ESQ: With the world still going through a pandemic, how do you think people's perception of clothes have changed?
JIL SANDER: 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.
Uniqlo's full +J autumn/winter 2020 collection is set to be available at the Orchard Central Global Flagship store and uniqlo.com from 20 November 2020.