Derry fashion designer with rugby roots named by Vogue as 'one of the greatest fashion designers of our times'

Top Derry designer Jonathan Anderson further bolstered his portfolio when Zendaya wore one of his gowns to the premiere of tennis romance Challengers this week.

It wasn’t the first time the actress has worn the Derry man’s designs, but it further bolstered Vogue magazine’s description of him as ‘one of the greatest fashion designers of our times’.

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The 39-year-old son of former Ireland rugby captain Willie Anderson, now counts some of showbiz’s biggest stars among his clients, through Spanish luxury house LOEWE, of which he is creative director, and his own JW Anderson brand.

derry fashion designer with rugby roots named by vogue as 'one of the greatest fashion designers of our times'

Zendaya Pic: REX

Pop superstars Beyoncé and Rihanna both wore his designs during performances in 2023 – a year when he won Designer of the Year at the Fashion Awards in London in December – while Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Jamie Dornan are also fans.

And he could be about to take the world of film by storm too. He created the costumes for Challengers and worked with its director Luca Guadagnino again for his upcoming film Queer, based on the William S Burroughs novel and starring Daniel Craig.

derry fashion designer with rugby roots named by vogue as 'one of the greatest fashion designers of our times'

Beyoncé Pic: REX

The Magherafelt designer recently acknowledged that Zendaya had ‘been very kind to me’.

‘She’s worn a lot of [my] things,’ he said. ‘She has the ability to engage with people in a way that is very [different] compared to other celebrities. She becomes part of something larger. She uses clothing as a kind of instrument.’

derry fashion designer with rugby roots named by vogue as 'one of the greatest fashion designers of our times'

Jennifer Lawrence Pic: Getty

Luxury conglomerate LVMH identified Anderson to run LOEWE ten years ago, and the designer has overseen the brand’s rise from luxury also-rans to what fashion marketplace Lyst called the ‘hottest brand in the world’ last year.

He gained his first taste of the business at Brown Thomas in Dublin, before moving to London to study fashion.

derry fashion designer with rugby roots named by vogue as 'one of the greatest fashion designers of our times'

JW Anderson Pic: REX

He then did a stint with Prada before setting up JW Anderson and launching his first menswear collection in 2008. Universal acclaim saw him commissioned to design lines for Topshop, Versace and Uniqlo over the next decade, between creating ranges for LOEWE and his own brand.

A slew of Fashion Awards followed, including being crowned both menswear and womenswear designer of the year in 2015 – the only time the same person has won both. And last year, he was named International Designer of the Year by the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Anderson’s father Willie played for Ireland 27 times between 1984 and 1990, most famously leading a defiant staredown of the New Zealand Haka against the All Blacks in 1989.

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derry fashion designer with rugby roots named by vogue as 'one of the greatest fashion designers of our times'

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