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The BoF Podcast | Dan Levy and Jonathan Anderson on Balancing Creativity and Commerce

Loewe’s Jonathan Anderson and Emmy Award-winning actor and director Dan Levy in conversation at VOICES 2023.
Dan Levy and Jonathan Anderson
(Getty Images for Business of Fashion)
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Background:

The delicate dance between artistic integrity and commercial viability is a challenge Dan Levy and Jonathan Anderson know well. Levy’s Emmy Award-winning Netflix show Schitt’s Creek harmonises creative brilliance with mainstream appeal, while at the luxury label Loewe, Anderson’s refreshingly original designs have earned him both critical acclaim and commercial success. What unites their work is a real commitment to personal vision.

“I can’t think of something more heartbreaking than starting with an idea that I loved, allowing people to change it to the point where it loses its DNA, then it goes out into the world and either succeeds or fails, and I have to look at that and say, ‘Well, that’s not me,’” says Levy. “You can never get that back. The fight to protect that [idea] is so important.”

This week on The BoF Podcast, Levy and Anderson speak with BoF editor-at-large Tim Blanks about how they balance creativity and commerce in a conversation from BoF VOICES 2023.

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Key Insights:

  • “Schitt’s Creek” began as a bare-bones-budget Canadian production and became a worldwide sensation during the pandemic. “We went and made something with absolutely no outside opinions, and because the stakes were so low, we were able to really kind of make the show for ourselves,” he says. “So what we made was quite pure.”
  • Through his work at Loewe and his namesake label, Anderson has realised that designers can’t be afraid of backlash. “Sometimes you have to make the decision that you may have to give the audience what they don’t want to annoy them. Because there’s nothing better when people are annoyed because then they think.”
  • For both creatives, the pandemic was a watershed moment. Anderson recalls, “it destroyed every formula that there ever was,” whilst Levy explained, “it also gave the consumer or the audience the freedom to find what they liked.”
  • To find creative success, Anderson puts it simply: “I think for something to be successful, you have to give everything you have.”

Additional resources:

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