Image Story

Juan-Manuel Alonso

I was hired by Willi Smith to design his menswear collection and be his right-hand man from the second men’s collection, which if I recall well, was a pre-Fall collection. I know that all of my time there was amazingly creative and the most fun I have had in any of the positions I have had. Do not get me wrong, we worked extremely hard and very long hours, but since it was something we all enjoyed, time was relative.

The studio worked as one big family. Willi was the head of this outlandish and creative group—which included the design staff, the pattern makers for both menswear and womenswear, as well as the sample room. We all worked as a timepiece and related to each other as a big family—dysfunctional at times but with great care for what we did. The main thing was getting the collection done and being on target for the different markets that were covered in each collection.

With time, the routine of ending and starting a new season became as involuntary as breathing in and out in order to create and outdo oneself with each new season arriving. Being Willi’s right hand got me involved in many wonderful projects—from private clients, for whom we made and designed clothes, to designing and continuing with different collaborations with artists—including the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane dance company, Twyla Tharp, Sounds in Motion, then-upcoming artist Keith Haring, as well as many others from the downtown creative crowd. On a daily basis, we knew when to come in but had no idea till what time we would work.

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three male figures wearing loose pants; two wear large jackets; one wears a large coat
Sketch of three male figures wearing oversized garments

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three female figures in oversized coats and jackets

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three female figures wearing oversized croped jackets, pants, and skirts

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three female figures wearing collared shirts, vests, pants, and skirts

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three female figures with oversized garments and short black hair

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three female figures wearing neck scarves and oversized coats with large pockets

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three male figures wearing loose pants; two wear large jackets; one wears a large coat

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three male figures wearing loose pants and large jackets

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three female figures; two wear large coats; one wears a large jacket

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three black figures wearing loose-fitting and patterned garments

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of three black figures; one wears an oversized coat with pants; another wears a hooded jumpsuit; a third wears a hooded coat with patterned leggings

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

Sketch of two black figures wearing layered outfits that include large pants and coats

Sketch designed by Juan-Manuel Alonso for WilliWear

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