Jil Sander‘s surprise return to the fashion industry by way of a refreshed +J collection for UNIQLO wasn’t the most shocking moment of 2020 but it was definitely up there. But after only two collections — and an upcoming third — Sander may once again be calling it quits.
Really, +J was the perfect balm for a frustrating, unsettling year.
Sander’s streamlined approach to garment design made for easy staples with pure silhouettes and slightly more premium fabrication than the usual UNIQLO fare, simple clothing that was all too welcome in what Highsnobiety Editorial Director Christopher Morency called the era of “Silent Streetwear.”
Even without a burgeoning appreciation of effortless easywear, +J sold especially well. UNIQLO’s seasonal collaborations always do numbers but +J had a very right time, right place feel.
Now, that time is apparently over. In UNIQLO’s recent Instagram posts teasing the next +J collection, it includes an enigmatic quote from Sander.
“As we close a chapter, I wonder what the future looks like,” she says.
The fast-fashion giant hasn’t clarified what exactly this means — Is +J over? Is Sander moving to a different role within the company? Is she merely referring to the new year? — but seems pretty telling of her sub-label’s future, if you ask me.
On top of that, it’s worth noting that Sander has a history of fleeing the industry.
She first departed her eponymous brand six months after it was acquired by The Prada Group in late 1999. Sander returned in 2003, left in 2004, and returned one last time in 2012 after Raf Simons left the Jil Sander brand. Sander finally left her label for good in 2013.
Meanwhile, Sander issued several off-and-on +J collections for UNIQLO between 2009 and 2015.
Overseen by husband-and-wife creative directors Lucie and Luke Meier, the Jil Sander brand is currently owned by OTB Group and it appears to be doing quite well, so it’s unlikely that Sander would consider coming back any time soon.
It’s much more likely that, instead, Sander will simply vanish from the business once again, as is her wont. It’s not like UNIQLO is hurting for collaborations, anyways.
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