HannahThe School of Life in London has commissioned Bella Freud to create a garment for the thinking man or woman. Obviously there can only be the one. What timeless minimal piece has lived through countless evolutions, never losing its essence, always looking cool? Exactly. The black jumper. Obviously, Freud has previous form with this item, just consider her lust-worthy Ginsberg is God or je t’aime Jane black jumpers, which always look the epitome of shoulder-shrugging Gallic effortlessness that one strives for. Freud also has the family name to back this garment up, not to mention her collaborations with creative icons such as Anita Pallenberg, Susie Bick and Nick Knight.


The result is a piece that, while not spouting any obvious bells and whistles, I suspect will quietly insinuate itself into your wardrobe and become a loved stable. Personally I’d remove the ‘twist’, a little label sewn into the outside hem which reads ‘know yourself’ and re-attach it to the inside as a reminder to do just that.

As Bella Freud comments: ‘The black jumper is the ideal suit of armour to contain you while allowing you to free your thoughts. This is what I had in mind when I was approached by The School of Life to create The Philosopher’s Jumper. For all its simplicity there is nothing more alluring than a perfect jumper in black merino wool. It is a sheath that keeps you feeling under the radar while attracting the attention of interesting people.’


Each jumper comes with a pamphlet on style and images of philosophers wearing their own black jumpers. It is also a great way of supporting and getting to know The School of Life, which is committed to helping people lead a more fulfilled life. Even if you can’t afford the jumper just now, take a look at their courses which are guaranteed to make you expand your mind. They publish books, offer therapies and run classes in locations around the world, not just London but also Amsterdam, Paris and Melbourne. The jumper is also modelled by two clearly both attractive and clever human beings, which makes you yearn for more of that sort of thing.

The Philosopher’s Jumper is now on sale from The School of Life’s online store theschooloflife.com for £150 in a range of sizes for both men and women.

To celebrate the collaboration, renowned fashion photographer James Mountford was commissioned to take portraits of 10 modern male and female thinkers, including the fabulous Philippa Perry.

Here’s a little bit about Hannah Dawson and Charlie Gent, the models.

Hannah Dawson.
 Having taken a double first in History at the University of Cambridge, Dawson went on to do a MPhil and PhD there, working on the philosophy of John Locke. She was elected to a Junior Research Fellowship at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and after a spell at the University of Edinburgh, is now Senior Lecturer in the history of ideas at New College of the Humanities. Her most recent book is Life Lessons from Hobbes. 
Area of intellectual interest: Philosophy of language, and moral and political thought.
Favourite thinker: Mary Wollstonecraft.
Favourite work: Leviathan by Hobbes.

Charlie Gent. Works with businesses to help them communicate better and think more creatively, using ideas from culture and science.
Area of intellectual interest: Perception and memory.
Favourite Thinker: Daniel Kahneman.
Favourite work: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.

Both images ©James Mountford
Words by Anna Bang


Anita Pallenberg, anna bang, Bella Freud, Charlie Gent, Hannah Dawson, James Mountford, Nick Knight, Philippa Perry, Susie Bick, The School of Life,