The Interview: Daniel w. Fletcher, fashion designer
Fashion designer Daniel w. Fletcher recently showcased his SS23 collection at London Fashion Week, presenting a collection full of reflections on his past.
‘Stand and Deliver’, whilst focused around British heritage pieces, is also built on self-referencing and pays homage to the evolution of his brand.
A minutes silence for Queen Elizabeth II opened Fletcher’s SS23 show; a collection devised in tribute to London’s royalty. The royalty that Fletcher seeks to highlight however is not those who inherited their jewels and riches, but subcultures who carved their own identities across the the capital city.
He talks to TheIndustry.fashion about his SS23 collection, where he finds his inspiration, the concept of genderless fashion, collaborating with Nona Source for sustainable sourcing, and his plans for the future.
How did you find the build up to London Fashion Week this year?
The week before the show was a bit crazy! The death of The Queen really threw our plans into the air with questions being raised over whether fashion week would go ahead however in the end it felt right to do so but I chose to open my show with a tribute to her as a mark of respect to the Royal Family and anyone grieving the loss of Her Majesty.
Is there something that serves as a point of reference to this season for you?
The collection is a melting pot of all the people who have inspired me during my time in London but also all those who came before and made it what it is. The punks of Kings Road, the bankers in the city, the late night characters in Soho, each of them has contributed something to make the city what it is today.
This year also marks 10 years of you being in London, has that influenced anything in this collection?
It influenced the entire collection. Being in London for a decade, there are so many reference points I wanted to showcase as so much has inspired me over the years and I was thinking a lot about that this season.
How do you think your personal style and the brand has evolved over the years?
I think it got a little bit more formal, I wear more tailoring now, less sportswear (even though I never play sports, sometimes I’d mix pieces into my wardrobe) and I think that’s evident in the collections too; my very first season was much more casual than where we are now for SS23.
What was the motivation behind presenting this season as genderless?
I don't really design pieces for a specific binary. I just want to make clothes for people who enjoy wearing them regardless of gender so when I’m designing a shirt for example I’m just thinking about it as a shirt and then when it comes to showing it we try it on all sorts of people and see who looks good in it. Even the day before the show some looks were men's and then became women's and vice versa.
Tell me about the casting in your SS23 LFW presentation. How are you choosing to showcase diversity and inclusion?
Diversity is really important to me at DWF. I want everyone to be able to wear my clothes so when we are casting that’s always at the forefront of my mind. We try lots of people in the looks when we are casting and it’s always about finding the one who’s personality and vibe suits that outfit and that is regardless of age, race, gender or size.
The collection is made up from dead stock from luxury fashion brands, did you handle the production of the collection differently to previous collections?
Completely differently! Usually I will spend weeks sourcing fabrics and the fabrics will decide what the garment will be. However, this season I pre-selected fabrics from Nona Source so I designed the collection and then decided which fabrics I should make them in. It was a really interesting way to design and I am so proud of what we managed to produce working in this much more sustainable way.
What has your relationship with Nona Source been like?
Nona Source have been amazing to work with this season, I plan on working with them on future collections too because I really believe in what they are doing and making positive changes in the fashion industry in order to protect our planet.
How much control did you have over the fabric that you received, did you supply a brief or did you work within the constraints of what you received?
Complete control! Nona Source have a beautiful showroom which I got to visit a few months ago. After selecting the fabrics, they were all sent over from Paris. I started by picking all of my favourite fabrics from the show room and that's really what built the colour story for the collection.
How important is sustainability to the Daniel. w Fletcher brand?
Extremely - sustainability really guides the collections I produce and is usually the deciding factor for the garments we make. We try to do everything as sustainable as possible, using production off-cuts to make our signature quilts for example and always trying to find ways to reduce our waste and environmental impact.
Do you have a particular highlight from the collection?
There are quite a few self referencing pieces in the collection, the corsets inspired by my SS19 collection, pyjama shirts from SS16 and fur scarves from SS17; it’s quite surreal to be able to look back at all that work and be able to reference it now. I never imagined I’d be in this place opening London Fashion Week and selling my collections all over the world so that’s quite a special feeling for me.
You’ve mentioned before that historic cultural groups like The Pearly Kings and Queens of Soho and the Punks of King’s Road serve as inspiration for you, are there any similar modern cultural groups that you see as inspirational?
Anyone who stands up for what they believe in and uses their voice to create positive change is always an inspiration to me!
Looking ahead, what do you hope your SS23 collection will achieve?
I am hoping it will help initiate more conversations around sustainability and how we create our collections. Using Nona Source this season was really amazing, knowing that we are using fabric which would have otherwise gone to waste. Also being able to showcase this idea of a truly genderless collections is really something I hope we see more of.