"I love Milan because they love fashion", said Anderson to Wallpaper Magazine.
Reflectively, its been 3 years since JW Anderson opened his first store in Soho, on the corner of Brewer Street and Wardour Street. A store that pays homage to the esteemed nightlife/fashion district in London - an area known to most for it's eccentric individuals that prance, strut and command the streets day in, day out.
However, we now transport ourselves to 2023, where we're encountered by a Instagram pic of some furry boots stood carefully on beautifully tiled flooring resembling none other than the announcement of a new store from the Northern Island Designer, that was opened nearly a month after. What more could've foreshadowed this news besides his debut on the Milanese fashion calendar for FW22 where he said that Milan was a city he 'loves' and finds 'inspiration' from often. It's interesting to observe the further expansion and rise of brick and mortar stores, with END. Clothing & Kick Game opening their respective stores in Milan earlier in the year. What is this sudden obsession with Milan & the Italian market?
Don't be too distracted by the iconic neon signage though, the store, designed by 6a Architects, is very much an ode to Italian stylistic codes and architecture. The exterior is unchanged, remaining true to its Italian heritage of stone, sharing a familiar facade of neighbouring stores such as: Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Giorgio Armani & Prada. The interior features classic terrazzo tiling in unison with aluminum scaffolding and display structures aiming to juxtapose the visitor's geographical bearings.
Anderson continued to Wallpaper: 'designing a store, that’s the personal part. To me they’re just as important as a show, if not more – because they need to last. I enjoy the process, and being involved in every decision down to the door handles. The furniture, the lighting – every aspect I choose to include'.
It's hard to see where he's gone wrong with this move, the store is located in Quadrilatero (Milan's high-end shopping district). There's an ever-existing culture surrounding Italy with food, fashion and a heavy romance with life that is hard to ignore. Additionally, the popularity of the Milanese calendar is only increasing with brands like Diesel reaching astronomical heights of popularity and Bottega Veneta claiming a deserved conservative and "stealthy" customer that seems to populate Milan.
Where most brands seem fixated on the fashion glory in Paris, it's the 'heightened curiosity' and 'appreciation for fashion in a way that’s very different' from other places, that's attracted Anderson and his team. Longevity is a word we should associate with JW.
Take a look through images of the store below:
By Luca Allick-Smith