Greta Villiger, head of womenswear at J.W. Anderson, likes to test boundaries — and break them.

New Zealander Greta Villiger moved to London from Sydney five years ago, and today is head of womenswear design at one of fashion's most exciting young labels, J.W. Anderson.

Last year, LVMH - the luxury conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Celine, among others - invested a minority stake in the brand, and its founder, Jonathan Anderson, was recently chosen by Vogue as one of the design stars transforming fashion.

Influential website The Business of Fashion described the label's appeal in its "precise, ultra-modern approach to clothing, which often tests (and breaks) the traditional boundaries of gender".

Villiger's part in that sees her work alongside Anderson, and co-ordinate a wider design team to create two main and two pre-collections a year. She began at the brand earlier this year, having previously worked as head designer for London-based label Jonathan Saunders.

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From Auckland to Sydney to study fashion design, to London, where she interned at brands such as Christopher Kane, Villiger puts her success down to "lots of hard work, supportive friends and family, and lots of people being kind enough to show me how to do things properly".


What do you love most about your role and working in fashion?
The amazing, talented people I get to work with, and working on new, exciting, great clothes and accessories that I want to wear and I want to see people wearing.

Describe the J.W. Anderson studio, and your own desk.
J.W. Studio is an old building in Dalston that has been renovated. The design studio is open and pretty empty with lots of boards with inspiration pinned to it. My desk is very boring. A computer, a stack of papers and a money cat that Jonathan brought back for me from a trip to Tokyo.

How do people tend to dress for work? Is there an office dress code?
People in the design team are normally quite practical as there is quite a lot of pinning on your knees, etc. So jeans, sweaters, flat shoes mostly.

How do you dress for the office each morning?
Normally high-waisted jeans and a T-shirt.

Are there specific pieces or garments that you always go back to when dressing for work?
I have an oversized leather jacket that looks like it's from the 80s that I am quite into right now.

What are you inspired by right now?
An eccentric potter called George E. Ohr.

How do you dress outside of work?
Jeans, T-shirts, I tend to like short dresses for parties! And I love big earrings, so wear these more outside of work.

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What other brands or designers are you drawn to?
I respect designers who have a vision and don't worry so much what everyone else is doing. I admire confidence and independence.

What is your earliest fashion memory?
I have a lot as I was, unfortunately, quite opinionated as a child. I remember a phase of wearing big velvet hats to school in Switzerland.

What do you love most about London?
Walking in the park near my house is so nice at this time of year. We have been lucky. It's been cold but quite sunny.


GRETA'S LONDON HIT LIST
1. National Portrait Gallery
They had a great Virginia Woolf show on recently.

2. Hampstead Heath
Near my house, it feels like the countryside.

3. Cecconi's
The barman, who's been there 20 years, is cool.

4. Jin Kichi
The best Japanese, right next to my flat.


- VIVA