Unless you’re the kind of person who regularly rocks things like effortlessly scuffed loafers perfectly tattered polo shirts pilfered from the closet of your older brother, the word ‘prep’ probably conjures up images of the popped collars and pastel-colored ribbon belts you regrettably sported circa 2006. At least, it does for me. But J.W. Anderson, creative director of Loewe and the individual responsible for creating the only bag I covet as much as a vintage Chanel 2.55, is bringing the preppy aesthetic back to its pared-down roots with his new Uniqlo capsule collection. Inspired by the chic sportiness of the English countryside, the hotly anticipated line, which features both womenswear and menswear, drops tonight at 9 p.m. And with prices between $15 and $149, it’s perfect for a little post-work, pre-weekend online shopping (with only a hint of guilt).
What’s more, if you, like myself and so many other industry observers, are experiencing serious fatigue with the seemingly constant stream of mainstream brand/high-end designer collaborations that feel increasingly formulaic and incredibly overhyped, you’ll appreciate the fact that this capsule actually seems to achieve what they all purport, but most fail, to do: provide a distilled version of a designer’s vision at an accessible price point that still doesn’t skimp too much on quality. It’s a tall order, but I’m not the only one who thinks J.W. Anderson and Uniqlo may have nailed it. In fact, everyone from Vogue to Man Repeller to GQ is singing this collab’s praises, a first since I don’t remember when (Margiela x H&M? Mary Katrantzou for Adidas? The first Kate Moss for Topshop?).
While Uniqlo has previously worked with the likes of Jil Sander, Carine Roitfeld, and Ines de la Fressange, Anderson’s classic-with-an-edge designs seem to be especially well-matched for the Japanese retailer, which specializes in high-quality, low-cost basics that are a welcome addition to the overly embellished options that dominate the under-$100 price point. And perhaps the best part of the collaboration, aside from the super affordable price point, is the fact that it’s full of classic items like trench coats, turtlenecks, and cable-knit sweaters that you can totally justify dropping your hard-earned cash on, especially if you aspire to dress like a cross between a fisherman, a Balenciaga model, and an off-duty Kate Middleton this fall. And should your fall aesthetic skew trendier, there’s a ruffled, distressed denim skirt with a very Marques’Almedia vibe and a tartan puffer jacket that can only be described as hip-hop star meets Catholic school girl.
Suffice it to say, that upcoming Ellery x H&M collab has a whole lot to live up to.