Jonathan Anderson in Kyoto: Country Comforts in the City

Jonathan Anderson, on his first visit to Kyoto.
This season’s UNIQLO and JW ANDERSON collection
and this livable city have several things in common.

Jonathan arrived wearing a UNIQLO waffle crew neck long-sleeve T-shirt paired with pants that he designed for UNIQLO and JW ANDERSON. Behind him, you can see a fusuma that piqued his curiosity.

“I find the checkered pattern on this fusuma so modern and appealing.”

Jonathan Anderson visited Kyoto’s Tofuku-ji Komyoin Temple after a light rain, when the moss garden was aglow with moisture. The fusuma that captured his attention sports a modern blue checker pattern, custom-made in reference a motif employed by landscape architect Mirei Shigemori, who designed the temple’s garden. This season’s UNIQLO and JW ANDERSON collection, introduced on Biking Through Kyoto, includes several items, like the checkered dresses, sharing something of the spirit of Kyoto. One example is the prominent role played by bicycles in the local culture.

“Living in London, I’ve started seeing bicycles and scooters all the time. This phenomenon was actually a direct inspiration for the collection. I mean, if you’re on your bicycle and it begins to rain, did you pack a jacket? I wanted this clothing to have that sporty edge that is so essential.”

The collection includes a pocketable anorak and a lightweight coat*, as well as pants equipped with angled pockets that allow for easy access while riding a bike. It’s these functional adjustments and thoughtful details that make these clothes so suitable for daily life.

* Biking Through Kyoto men's coat are made packable.

“The overarching concept was The Great British Outdoors. But this is less about the actual outdoors, so much as envisioning the city that you live in as a kind of urban jungle, a place full of adventure. That’s why most of the clothing in this collection can be folded down, with the majority of the items designed to take up very little space. When you can make clothing that helps people enjoy being in the city from a fresh perspective, the city becomes the great outdoors, allowing for all kinds of new discoveries. That’s my hope for this collection.”
Seeing this link between city and clothing, Jonathan was struck by two things in particular on his first visit to Kyoto.

Gazing off into the garden from the engawa. The triad of stones in the background represents Sanzonseki, or a Buddhist trinity.

“The old buildings are absolutely amazing. Britain has some buildings that are basically as old, but in Kyoto, there’s more of a respect for nature, the way you see it, or the way it’s framed, than anywhere else in the world. I’m also quite intrigued by the ceramics. Before visiting Japan, I watched a documentary on Japanese art on the BBC. They showed a clip of a family of raku potters making tea bowls. This morning, when I took part in a tea ceremony, I was delighted to find that the artisan who made the tea bowls we were using was actually there. When you consider all the different craftspeople, who make the bamboo spoon and make the bowl, it slows you down and makes you think. I’ve been collecting tea bowls for a while, mostly for the shapes. But at today’s tea ceremony, it was so interesting to learn all the particulars of how to handle the bowls properly, down to packing them away in the box after you’re done. In Britain, most people unpack the bowls and leave them on display. It was so fascinating to witness this sort of cultural difference.”

Brimming with interest in Kyoto, Jonathan asked the chief priest of Komyoin Temple detailed questions about its history and gardens.

When completely different cultures come together, something new is born. UNIQLO has been collaborating with Jonathan since 2017. We took the chance to ask him candidly about what LifeWear means to him.
“At the moment, I design for three different brands, so unless I can come up with different ways of exploring them, I think that one would eat the other. So in a sense, my own brand JW ANDERSON is the fantasy of myself, while Loewe is more of the cultural aspect of myself. I see the UNIQLO collection as the realist in me, an expression of myself on a daily basis. I think the best part of this collaboration is how the products are truly meant for everyone, regardless of where you live in the world or who you are. I find this concept in and of itself so interesting.
I’m always wearing UNIQLO. On top of being so affordable, the clothes are made to last. I think it’s so important to apply this sort of a sustainable approach to the things we use every day. I’d always dreamt of wearing something I’d designed for UNIQLO, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Jonathan Anderson
Fashion Designer. Born in 1984 in Northern Ireland. While working as an actor, he developed an interest in costume design. In 2005, he enrolled in the London College of Fashion. He released his first menswear collection in 2008. In 2013, he was named Creative Director of 〈Loewe〉. Since Spring/Summer 2017, he has been collaborating with UNIQLO on the UNIQLO and JW ANDERSON collection.

Jonathan’s Favorite Kyoto Spot

Ryoanji Garden 13 Ryoanji Goryonoshitacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
OPEN Daily March-November 8:00-17:00,December-February 8:30-16:30

Established by Hosokawa Katsumoto, military commander of the Muromachi period. The rock garden is said to have been designed by painter Soami, but its origins remain unclear.

Gallery Tessaido 262 Umemotocho, Shinmonzendori, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
OPEN 10:00-17:30 CLOSED 6th, 9th, 18th, 19th, 28th, 29th Each Month

This gallery stocks around 800 Japanese hanging scrolls, framed artworks and choice items from the Taisho period to the present.

Komyoin Temple 15-809 Honmachi Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
OPEN 7:00-Sunset Daily

Built in 1391. Sub-temple of Tofuku-ji, head temple of the Tofuku-ji branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. The gorgeous dry landscape garden has earned it the name Rainbow Moss Temple. Suggested donation of 300 yen.

Store Information


58 Daikokucho, Kawaramachi-dori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
OPEN 11:00-21:00 Daily

Reopened after renovations in November 2019, our Kawaramachi store is now the largest UNIQLO in Kyoto Prefecture. The four floors, including the below-ground level, offer the full lineup of UNIQLO items, from the latest releases to our most popular time-tested items.

Photography by Satomi Yamauchi
Interview by Mayumi Yamase
Coordination by Natsuko Mikami
Text by UNIQLO
Special Thanks to Akemi Koyama

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