We chat to acclaimed actor and activist Gillian Anderson on philanthropy, style and her sophomore collection for Winser London.
Here, Gillian Anderson talks about her work with Women for Women International, how she likes to spend her downtime and collaborating with Winser London on her hotly anticipated second collection.
What was the inspiration behind your second collection?
The primary inspiration was that I had so much fun with the first collection that I knew I wanted to do it again. Rather than reinventing the wheel we decided to put out a couple of different colours in the same cuts of two successful styles and even used the cut of the Boyfriend Jumper for the lips range. Then the question was, if we only do one dress - what is a style that can cross seasons and feel dressy and yet equally casual with a pair of boots and a funky coat? If we only do one blouse, what style is both the antithesis of last season’s Silk Blouse and also matches the personality of the dress? And if I’m to do a trouser, given last season was a Tuxedo Cigarette Pant why not try and create what I wear day in and out through the winter, Mini Bootleg Black Low-Rise Stretch Jeans.
What are your favourite pieces from the new collection, and why?
Oh that’s hard! I do love the Lips sweaters, not least because a percentage of proceeds is being donated to one of my favourite charities for women but also because the quality of the image worked and kept its personality even on a cashmere blend, which is a challenging expectation. The hooded coats are definitely a favourite because they are so versatile and fun.
How would you describe your personal style?
Eek, I’d say simple. I think? On a day-to-day basis I don’t put a lot of effort into what I wear and dress for practicality (with heels though) but if I’m dressing up I do like clean, classic lines and am not likely to go for a pattern - as much as I like patterns they just don’t work on me.
Who inspires you in work, life and style?
Probably my friend Gabriela Hearst. She has an incredible personal style which is reflected in how she dresses. She works so hard on her clothing line and fabrics and manages to balance it effectively with kids and husband and friends and meditation. She’s a force to be reckoned with. If she is a racehorse, I am a miniature pony.
What’s the best piece of advice that you’ve ever received?
Do your very best and let go of the results. That means to show up prepared and committed and positive and present and leave the results to the powers that be. As long as you know you have done your best, nothing else matters. Great if whatever it is works out, and if it doesn’t at least you know you did your best and it simply wasn’t meant for you at this time. Difficult to do in practice at first and easy to get into self-criticism and blame and resentment, but once you get used to truly letting go, it can be one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself.
Tell us more about your work with Women for Women International and how they’re spotlighted in your new collection?
Jennifer Nadel who I co-wrote WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere with first brought them to my attention and we encouraged readers of the book to make donations to this wonderful organisation. Since then I have tried to help raise awareness and funds.
Women for Women International helps women in post conflict zones get back on their feet. It teaches them about their rights, teaches them a trade so they can become self-sufficient, teaches them about personal hygiene and how to take care of themselves and encourages them to be active in their communities. They really honour the women they work with and stay in contact with them for years afterwards - personally visiting the women on the ground on a regular basis and making sure the programs are running effectively. It’s just a wonderful organization.
One of the fundraising projects I did was to partner with RedBubble to make a T-shirt with an image of my lips that had been presented to me by a fan. Other fans started buying the t-shirts knowing all our RedBubble profits were going to Women for Women. I then decided to take it one step further in this Winser London collection with a cashmere blend sweater where the image was worked into the weave in three great colours.
Finally, what do you like to do to relax?
Watch documentaries. Heaven.