We’re used to seeing him on the field in his whites, but now Burnley paceman James Anderson is showing off a new look, writes Simone O'Kane
HE’S spent more than two decades wearing ‘unflattering’ whites, but now it’s time for East Lancashire’s famous cricketing son, James Anderson, to show off his slender 6ft 2in frame in the clothes that make him look and feel good.
This week the England and Lancashire bowler, launched his own exclusive menswear collection with top fashion label, Chess London, designed specifically for men of an athletic build.
“I have always been interested in fashion so I approached the company to do a collection a couple of years ago and they were happy to get me on board. I think it’s important that the clothes I design are my own and they are targeted to men with a specific build,” says James who was born and raised in Burnley.
“It’s basically for the athletic build but the clothes aren’t just for athletes,” laughs James. “It’s just nice fitting clothes that look good.”
His collection is produced from fine British and Italian fabrics and is tailored to his taste, with prices ranging from £49 to £325.
“I am tall and quite slim and I have always found it can be quite difficult to find clothes that fit you well or find trousers that are long enough,” says James, a former St Theodore’s School pupil.
“I have been heavily involved in the whole process, from initial sketches and compiling the mood board to designing each piece and editing the collection, which has been an incredible experience. After a few meetings I had to pick some samples and finalise the designs. They are really comfortable and cool pieces and I am pleased.”
He’s also the face of his new fashion line, although it’s not his first time in front of the camera as a model, as James became the first cricketer to model naked for Britain's biggest-selling gay magazine, Attitude, in 2010 to highlight the cricket world’s opposition to homophobia.
This time around, the 31-year-old looks dapper, modelling items from his collection, including a check dinner suit, as well as going for a more provocative look as he poses in a cherry coloured shirt drenched from a dip in the swimming pool. And despite taunts from his England team mates, James says he can handle them.
“The swimming pool idea was put to me and at first I was a bit sceptical but the shoot went really well. I can handle the banter from the lads, it makes me laugh and I think it’s quite funny. They all like to look smart and they have been given some samples. Recently they have given me some great positive feedback so it’s something I enjoy laughing about it,” says James who is a patron of Nordoff Robbins, a specialist music charity, dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable children and adults across the UK.
James, also known as Jimmy on the field, says he had a childhood dream to be a cricketer, after watching his dad Michael play for his home team, Burnley.
At 17 those dreams started to become a reality and he became one of the fastest bowlers in the Lancashire League, From there professional success and a regular England place followed .
And although he’s now branching out into the fashion business, plans for a redesign of England’s cricket attire haven’t crossed the athlete’s mind yet.
“I think the cricket strip is the most unflattering sportswear of the lot and it doesn’t look good,” he said. “We will have to see how my fashion career goes,” laughs James.
When he’s not designing clothes or travelling the world with the England team, James spends time with his wife Daniella, a former model and the mother of his two children, Lola and Ruby.
“My wife has been kind of involved and she has a good eye for fashion.,” he says. “I have asked for her opinion but that’s as far as it goes.
When it comes to his clothes. James is pretty self sufficient.
“ I do live out of a suitcase and when I am away I pack a lot as I like to have options,” he said. “I don’t want to borrow a T-shirt off somebody so I make sure I have enough.”
While he’s still committed to cricket, he admits the future as a player is inevitably going to come to an end and he wants to add as many strings to his bow as possible.
“I think it’s good to have different options and that’s what’s good about this launch. If I can carry it on for a few years it will be great. I have not yet made up my mind or made a decision. I may also take the punditry route after my career or I could carry on playing and come back to Burnley, you just never know.”