Young British menswear designer, Daniel W. Fletcher has an impressive list of awards under his belt including: the Future British Fashion Award supported by Boden, The River Island X BFC Fashion Film award, nominations for the LVMH prize in 2017 and finalist in the prestigious Woolmark Prize 2019, 5' ELEVEN'' were thrilled to explore his world and the role fashion plays within it.
Words by Charlie Newman.
* This is an interview extract. Find out the full version in the Spring Summer 2019 Issue 2 *
What was your experience like at Central Saint Martins? Do you look back on your experience fondly or not? Do you think you could have got to your level of success without having studied there?
I had great fun there, although I know some people don’t agree with their teaching styles, it’s very independent. I look back on my first two collections there and I was producing some really awful work as I was struggling to find out who I was as a designer. It wasn’t until I went on my placement year that I figured that out. So where I am now came from a mixture of working with other brands as well as my experience at CSM.
Has the brand evolved in the way you thought it would or do you take everything step by step?
The way I went into it was without any expectations because I was fresh out of university and didn’t have anything to lose at that point. My whole approach to having a label is having ambition but not expectation.
Opening Ceremony is obviously a huge brand, how do you go from being a student to working for them?
I started off just making 120 units for them and now I make way over a thousand units in 16 stores around the world. It has developed but in order to do that I’ve had a lot of support from a Sales Agent, a PR team and great mentors. I remember when we were sending off our first order and I got my brother, my brothers' partner and my sister to help wrap everything whilst I frantically sewed poppers onto a leather coat before the DHL guy came to collect everything!
This collection is born out of the idea of an off the rails businessman
How do you define fashion and more specifically your creation process?
I work very hands on, in 3D. At the start of the season I’ll research a lot, using the CSM library, art galleries, or whatever’s going on around me, or even how I’m feeling in the world at that time. Then onto designing I’ll look at vintage and some weird sportswear I found in a charity shop, or something from last season that I feel I could develop further. After that I’ll make the samples, work closely with the stylists and then fitting.
How exactly does Spring Summer 2019 reflect your views on the current social climate?
This collection is born out of the idea of an off the rails businessman. This first came about having run my business for three years and kind of going a bit mad with financial struggles and the stress of a growing business I thought I was going to lose the plot a bit! The collection starts with a suit but as it goes on everything becomes gradually more dishevelled, like he’s just gone on a crazy night out and come home Saturday morning and doesn’t know what’s happened to him.
Very American Psycho then?
Yes! We referenced the film a lot for the show make up!
If money was no object, what other brands apart form your own would you wear?
Prada and Tom Ford. I’m a sucker for quality!
Would you ever take a Creative Director role at another brand?
Absolutely, that’s a dream. Especially somewhere that’s an old brand that needs revitalization. I really love the idea of a brand where I could delve into their archive and put my own spin on it.
A lot of high end designers now are being really vocal about the pressure and stress of producing a ridiculous amount of collections every year. Do you think that the pace of fashion needs to slow down?
I think everyone needs to have an individual approach to it instead of producing a collection every 3 months. Everyone should just produce a collection when it’s right for them.
But do you think that’s a luxury an individual designer has rather than a house? For example Tom Ford could afford to do that over Louis Vuitton.
Yes but then if someone at one of those big houses stepped out of the norm I’m sure all the other ones would follow suit. I think having a non confirmative approach to it is the best. I really respect for example the designer Martine Rose, she just does what she wants, when she had a baby she took a break and didn't let anyone force her into anything.
Grooming by Fabio Vivan Routine for Men Skin Care.
Kohei Takabatake appears courtesy of IMG London.
Read Daniel's interview in the Spring Summer 2019 - Issue 2. Get your copy here.