Belfast Telegraph

JW does double at fashion Oscars as top female and male designer

By Lisa Smyth

Northern Ireland's top haute couture designer has added to his growing collection of accolades - walking away with two of the top prizes at the British Fashion Awards.

Trendsetting Jonathan 'JW' Anderson, who hails from Magherafelt, scooped menswear and womenswear Designer of the Year at the glittering event last night - becoming the first designer to win both categories in the same year.

Anderson was visibily stunned as he was presented with the fashion world's Oscars by Lord Of The Rings star, Orlando Bloom, and Noomi Rapace, lead actress in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

He was up against strong competition at the prestigious event, with Victoria Beckham and Christopher Kane nominated for womenswear and E Tautz and Tom Ford for menswear.

Pandora Sykes, fashion features editor at Sunday Times Style magazine, tweeted last night that she had the pleasure of wearing one of Anderson's dresses earlier in the day.

"Without question, the most thrilling designer right now," she said.

It tops off a stellar year for the 31-year-old designer and cements his place as a top fashion name less than a decade after setting up JW Anderson. He is famed for his daring ideas and plays on androgyny.

Son of former Ireland rugby captain Willie Anderson, he got his big break by assisting stylist Manuela Pavesi with the window displays at Prada.

He now counts Karl Lagerfeld among his fans, and even Anna Wintour jets in to London Fashion Week early so she can sit in his front row. His eponymous brand is stocked in high-fashion outlets across the world, including Barneys and Selfridges.

Last night's ceremony took place at the London Coliseum, with Jack Whitehall as compere and guests including David and Victoria Beckham, Liv Tyler, Samantha Cameron, Alexa Chung and Poppy Delevingne.

Halfway through came a fashion show, backed by a live performance by singer Alison Moyet.

It is a far cry from his roots in small town Magherafelt. However, he has attributed his success to his upbringing in the sleepy mid Ulster town. "When you come from a small town, you want things to be big," he said.

Earlier this year the Co designer showcased a range of avant-garde clothes which played on gender identity.

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