Fashion designer Frederick Anderson has been in the New York fashion scene for over 20 years. In the early nineties, he and Douglas Hannant created a made-to-order collection that embodied a ladies who lunch kind of vibe. The designers met at The Fashion Institute of Technology, and together they operated a successful business under Hannant’s name for a decade. Throughout the years the duo shared much success dressing celebrity clientele like Beyonce and Janet Jackson and even ventured out into other categories such as fur, bridal and fragrance.
However, there was an undeniable desire for the budding designer to branch out on his own. After a long career in fashion, Frederick finally kick-started his own label in 2017. Creating a label that was less ladies who lunch and more whimiscal and flirty. Appealing to a new generation of women, Frederick wants to dress strong women. “First, I did a tiny little collection,” says the designer. “I started as a direct-to-consumer brand but then realized it’s a hard road to go into the high end.” Luxury products typically have a clientele base smaller in size but high in expectation. “They like prestige and buy in for prestige. They don’t buy in just because you have good marketing,” says the designer.
Just as the solo designer was gaining traction, a slew of bad luck if you will, cast over his fate. “I had my back surgery which left me in bed, and my right arm was not working because of nerve damage. Then Covid happened, and I had to shut down,” he says. “I started doing research and created a whole file of hand stitches and different crochet techniques. I’m also about texture, lace, and tweed. So I asked myself how do we get to this? What can I do that looks like me?”
As he embarked on a new artistic journey, Frederick chose to use what was a dark time in his life as an opportunity to expand. “I thought okay, well, you can’t sketch right now. What can you do with it? I said research, research, research, and I came out with a new vocabulary,” says the designer. “I was very proud that I came out of it with knowledge and a new way of looking at things instead of feeling depressed.”
For Frederick, this is the first season where he was in Renaissance rejoice. “The previous season was about a garden party with this montage of everything bombarding us, gender equality, women’s rights, gay rights, and Black Lives Matter,” says Frederick. “I thought, it’s time for us to put this behind us and move forward.” The thought process was to create a pretty collection to inspire people to be happy again, find happiness, and to celebrate that we got through this. As history shows, the ideology behind the original Renaissance was a transition through the dark ages and into the age of light. “I think of that as myself as I went through some dark times, and I came into alignment,” says Frederick. “I understand not only where I am now but how I can see my future and what it looks like. That’s really what this Renaissance was about for me.”
Frederick frequently travels to Europe and his work is often compared to a European framework. What he admires is the European mindset to celebrate the past and embrace all of the negative experiences within their culture. “It’s not that my collection looks more European. I tried to be a little bit more sophisticated, in the idea of the use of fabrics and textures,” says Frederick. “More importantly, it is the way I put things together, the color palettes are not very color matching as we are used too in the US. I put navy and black together, like you can never typically do in life.”
Furthermore, his Renaissance collection is revamped with interesting textures and fabrics, “I didn’t do a typical peasant sleeve from the Renaissance period. I did a new version of it,” says Fredrick. “It is influenced by that period, but it’s been rethought, and retrieved. So then it gives you the appearance, but if you look at it up close, it’s a completely different idea, an interesting fabric. I always thought it was a lifestyle, not a collection.”
In the past, prestige was measured by showing restraint. “Now, to show prestige, you have to show power which is so much more sexy. Now we admire women with power,” says the designer. “We don’t admire women who run around and try to be the dainty little woman. After my collection, everyone kept saying that it was super sexy and that is feminine.” Frederick stands in his convictions that femininity defined by him is embedded in empowerment. Moreover his desire to continue to dress strong women. “There is this sense of needing armor for women that men don’t need. And it’s a sense that if a woman dresses sexy, she can dress for herself. Women should not be judged in their armor. She can be sexy if she wants to, and she should not have to be harassed. I think it’s interesting that we’re finally there because women are now adopting that. They’re adopting it as a power move and not resistance,” says Frederick. Showcasing embroidery and lace textures, models carousel down the runway in beautiful sheer silhouettes seeping confidence.
“They’re not doing it to be overtly sexy. They’re not doing it to forbid it at all. It’s not for anyone. It’s only for themselves. And I think it’s the ultimate power mode to say I’m not intimidated by it. And I can show it just like men walk around without their shirts.”
Frederick Anderson, is a thought leader and refined artisan in a refreshingly conscientious way. His approach to every collection begins with an analytical approach. A thesis, if you will. A process he equates to a Senior preparing for their final presentation, a collection of works from thought to conception. The epilogue in Frederick’s analysis came together in a beautiful collection, “As this collection is, that is the idea of my own personal Renaissance, but the Renaissance of ideas. To me, that’s the culmination of my Renaissance, finding out what that looks like. It’s a global process.”
Frederick Anderson presented his Resort 2024 collection at the cavernous, futuristic nightclub Nebula NYC last night.
Visit https://www.frederickandersoncollection.com/ for more information.