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Jonathan Saunders is the type of fashion designer whose work leaves a lasting impression. A true creative and visionary, Saunders has been an integral part of the London fashion scene since the launch of his eponymous label in 2003. From innovation and collaborations to patterns, craftsmanship and a glistening new fashion role, here Culture Trip reveals all you need to know about another one of Scotland’s stars, Jonathan Saunders.
Glasgow-born Saunders first graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a BA in printed textiles before getting his MA with distinction in the same field at Central Saint Martins College of Art And Design. Inspired by the legendary Yellow Submarine album cover by The Beatles, his graduate collection garnered praise and won him the 2002 Lancôme Colour Award. Immediately after, the one and only Alexander McQueen commissioned Saunders to design prints for his 2003 collection; what emerged was a fabulous bird of paradise themed work of art.
Examine any aspect of Saunder’s work and note that he is a master of his craft. Most notably, his innovative approach towards print, pattern and craftsmanship secures his name as a design guru. Every thread, color and stitch is meticulously planned out, and it shows in the quality of his work. Clearly, Saunders knows the industry inside out and uses this knowledge as his secret power. After all, the man can mix colors and patterns that simply shouldn’t mesh well, and miraculously transforms them into something exquisite.
Saunders is a traditionalist when it comes to exercising his craft. Trained in the art of silk screening, he uses traditional techniques on fabrics. This specific technique adds extra depth to his collections and truly enables his clothes to spring to life. Known for his linear prints and bursts of color, Saunders has always been an expert when it comes to prints that pop.
Look at his 2012 collaboration with sculptor Jess Flood-Paddock where a leviathan polypropylene installation was the focus; part of Britain Creates 2012: Fashion + Art Collusion, the installation was shown at the V&A and featured 200 silk screen prints by Saunders. The prints were created by Saunders throwing his jumper and printing with a vast sweep, which resulted in a magnificent conglomeration of prints. The installation was riddled with social commentaries from both Paddock-Flood and Saunders, and displayed a captivating array of colors.
A deftly skilled wizard of fashion, Saunders never fails to satisfy with his collections of separates and wardrobe staples. After all, he has an uncanny ability of creating separates that stand out from the crowd yet mesh in perfect harmony with the rest of the collection. It is no surprise that a myriad of his collections have graced the covers of British Vogue and are a firm favorite amongst the likes of Sienna Miller, Michelle Obama and Madonna, to name just a few.
As if Saunders’ ready-to-wear collections were not epic enough, the rock star went and conjured up show stopping eyewear line in 2014. Jonathan Saunders Eyewear undeniably caused a scene and blinded fashion followers worldwide with his stunning selection of glamorous glasses.
From winning British Designer Of The Year at the Elle Style Awards in 2007 and being bestowed with the British Fashion Award in Emerging Talent for Menswear in 2012, Saunders has countless accolades under his classic leather belt.
From his admirable work ethic and insistence on innovation to his deftly skilled design abilities, it is no surprise that Saunders has encountered numerous collaborations. From the get go, he had the honor of working with Alexander McQueen. Once more, he has also consulted for Christian Lacroix at Pucci, Phoebe Philo at Chloé and Paul Smith. Saunders has also designed for major high street retailers such as Topshop, Debenhams and Target.
However, his collaborations aren’t confined to fashion — Saunders has merged with artists, interior companies, sculptors, filmmakers, dancers and choreographers alike. Saunders, who has an intrinsic knack for having a myriad of projects on the go, is forever flexing his creative muscle. His film, Jumper, which marks the 10-year anniversary of his brand, is a collaboration with filmmaker Justin Anderson and a surrealist discourse about the confines of social constructions.
During the latter part of 2015, Saunders announced the closure of his eponymous label. Disproving speculation that he would lend his creative eye to Dior, Saunders stepped into the world of design queen Diane Von Furstenberg as Chief Creative Officer of DVF. Furstenberg, who is known for developing the world famous wrap dress, chose Saunders for his ineffable attention to craftsmanship, love of prints and color and extensive knowledge of the industry. A perfect union of two of fashion’s most talented and pioneering creatives, Saunders is over the moon with the task of carrying Furstenberg’s iconic and immortal DVF label into the future.
Saunders may be many things — all of which immensely positive — and yet one thing he certainly isn’t is a one trick pony. Unknown to many, this renowned designer also happens to dabble in furniture design. With a factory in Italy and another in Slovenia, there is no telling what this guy will do next. A stickler for craftsmanship, design in every sense of the word and innovative creations, Saunders is irrevocably in a league of his own.