Richard Nicoll and Jack Wills: it doesn’t sound like a natural combination. Minimalist London fashion week designer meets massive company loved by posh British teenagers is proper odd-couple stuff. But, actually, looking at his first collection for the brand, perhaps that’s why it works so well. Here are five reasons that RN for JW is a match that totally makes sense.
He isn’t British
Originally from Australia, Nicoll’s outsider perspective on all things Brit brings something different. He can explore the posh without any of the baggage, basically. “There’s the British elite spirit, that I approached in a irreverent way,” he says. “It’s about taking the DNA of a brand but looking at it through a new lense to make something relevant for a modern Britain.”
He isn’t about an overhaul
Instead, Nicoll is into the Jack Wills staples –the tracksuit pants, the hoodies, the gilets. “It’s interesting to make those things interesting,” he says “I’m not trying to make it into fashion. What I enjoy about this is that it’s a lifestyle brand.” A demographic of teenagers can now sigh with relief. Their beloved brand will remain recognisable. See the womenswear collection particularly, which combines neat preppy with sporty.
The logo is front row centre
Nicoll is not a snob when it comes to design – he likes a bit of wording on clothes, see his SS15 menswear sweatshirts that read, “Discreet”. He has therefore embraced the JW logo and plans to go big on it. Sweatshirts have the letters of Jack Wills printed in a grid on the back, and a playful bomber with J on one side of the zip and W on the other is a winner. “I’m into the branding stuff but I want to blow it up, make it more confident,” he says. Can it go super-size, please?
The Nicoll sense of fun and colour is in the building
The outerwear for girls and boys has the colour blocking Nicoll has become known for – the bubblegum-pink cropped-denim jacket is a highlight, ditto the shiny red mac. And patches sold at till points are a nice fun touch. While spring/summer 2015 is the first collection available to buy, Nicoll is already working onto his sixth collection for the brand.
Grown-ups will like it too
This is something that Nicoll is busy creating Jack Wills clothes to be worn beyond the traditional 18-25 demographic. See a collection based on youth culture but given a designer spin. “This is about putting the British heritage of the 1960s youth quake with Brit pop of the Nineties,” he says. “I took both of those times of carelessness, then I just did my thing.” And what a good thing it is.