J.W.Anderson Creates a Bag with an Attitude Problem 

An Accessory from the Designer’s Pre-Fall Collection Speaks to the Power of Youthful Angst 

  • Text: Reva Ochuba
    Photography: Haw-lin Services

New Icons celebrates the stories behind particularly notable pieces from this season.

Outcast turned social madonna, the septum ring reminds us of that girl everyone thought was weird in high school who somehow now has hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers. Her lunchroom anarchism shared common traits with the raging bull pierced by its benevolent handler. Once viewed as a problem, her delinquent streak now confidently finds its power in the ever-shining spotlight of the digital era. “A diamond in the rough,” her agent would later explain of her most angsty years.

From his remarkably off-kilter Pre-Fall 2016 collection, J.W.Anderson’s Pierce Bag forges a relationship between this standard of outsidership and our current criteria for fashion. The bag, with its endearing accordion shape and punctured front, swaddles its irregular proportions in lush leather and suede in an attempt to protect its raw, misunderstood, unwonted core. It speaks to the fact that outcasts have not just stormed the gates of luxury, they are now comfortably lounging inside. Rising from the ashes as a full embodiment of modern alternativism, one could easily spend days mapping out how the septum ring came to the forefront of contemporary fashion. This arcane fixture of indigenous culture has gone from taboo to trendy while still remaining firmly at the intersection of cryptic and cool.

The rest of Anderson’s collection further exemplifies these symbols of the unorthodox. His use of esoteric forms gives insight into how he views fashion: not through historical reference, but through an abstracted sense of utility. Expertly executing this thought process, Anderson places these simulated elements alongside contradicting textures and structures, constructing them into a collection oozing of otherworldly elegance. Classic sweatshirts rounded off with three-dimensional pocketing halt our brain's ability to differentiate between needs and wants. It straddles the line between cashing in and selling out. Fashion, as a practice, is evolutionary, not revolutionary. Don’t sleep on the strange. We all know success happens overnight.  

Text: Reva Ochuba
Photography: Haw-lin Services