Jonathan Saunders is a Scottish fashion designer known for his skill at print and his compelling use of colour. In May 2016 he joined Diane Von Furstenberg as a chief creative officer. In this newly created position, Saunders was responsible for the overall creative direction of the brand and reported to chief executive Paolo Riva. In December 2017 it was announced Saunders would be stepping down from the role effective immediately.
Saunders graduated in 2002 with an MA in printed textiles from Central Saint Martins. His graduate collection won him the Lancôme Colour Award and immediately brought him to the attention of British fashion editors.
Saunders went on to gain experience with some of fashion’s modern greats, working with Alexander McQueen , Christian Lacroix at Pucci and Phoebe Philo at Chloé, an experience he told the British Fashion Council enabled him to learn invaluable lessons on “how to turn ideas into real product and the complexity of our timing schedules within the fashion industry.” McQueen commissioned Saunders to design prints for his line two days after Saunders showed his graduate collection. It was Saunders who designed the widely lauded and much photographed Alexander McQueen Bird-of-Paradise prints. In 2008, Saunders joined the Milan-based label Pollini as its creative director, continuing the legacy of Britain’s two-time designer of the year, Rifat Ozbek. During his tenure at the brand, profits rose to by 9.2 percent in 2017, hitting £42 million.
He launched his line in London Fashion Week in 2003, to immediate critical acclaim: his debut collection was given the accolade of a British Vogue cover in January 2004, making its first New York Fashion Week appearance the following year. He was named the Scottish designer of the year in 2006.
In 2016 Jonathan Saunders closed his eponymous line, following the designer’s decision to step down as creative director for ‘personal reasons,’ according to a statement issued by the company. Following his departure, Saunders stayed in New York, refocusing his creative efforts on home furnishing design. In collaboration with the British brand, the Rug Company, Saunders unveiled a capsule collection at the London Design Festival in 2018, with his idiosyncratic use of vibrant colour and geometric patterns as a key reference point.