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With 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 for the prestigious Woolmark prize in February, Daniel W. Fletcher is definitely one to watch. 

photographed by EDWIN S FREYER

styled by NATHAN HENRY 

5ELEVEN SS19 Issue 2 _ Daniel W. Fletche

Daniel Fletcher wears, contrast stitch denim jacket and contrast stitch both by DANIEL W. FLETCHER

     Firstly, can you tell us about the birth of your brand?

     It was quite an organic process. I studied Menswear at Central Saint Martins in 2015 and when I did my graduate collection I was kind of thinking, I'd just go off and get a job in fashion somewhere, but Opening Ceremony contacted me and asked if they could buy the collection and that changed everything. I wasn't thinking at the time I'm starting a label here, I only thought about producing a capsule collection for them consisting of eight items to launch in their stores. It got such a great response, and having already set up a business and design studio I thought why not make another capsule collection for them and see how it goes? It has since evolved to me showing every season during London Fashion Week.

     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 years 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! 

     Did you know how to actually make clothes before University?

     No I had no idea. I learnt pattern cutting and sewing, having those skills and knowledge how to create a garment really dictates my style of design. If you don't know how to cut something then it becomes very difficult to design it. 

     Where did you go in your placement year?

     I went to Lanvin for 6 months and then onto Louis Vuitton for another 6 months which was so great. I got to work with Kim Jones and Lucas Ossendrijver who had a huge impact on me. Not only did I learn how you put a collection together but the importance of storytelling in design. Then the year I graduated I was hired by Louis Vuitton again, which meant that I was working 3 days in Paris and then 4 days in London for myself. This Summer was the first time in 3 years where I've taken some time off! 

KOHEI TAKABATAKE  wears, extended lining tailored jacket, split hem tailored trousers and printed shirt, all by DANIEL W. FLETCHER. White socks by WOLFORD. Shoes by CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN. 

Kohei appears courtesy of IMG London. Daniel and Kohei grooming by FABIO VIVAN using Routine for Men Skin Care. Fabio appears courtesy of Emma Davies Agency. 

Kohei wears, white halter neck, vest with white roping through eyelets, extended lining tailored jacket, and tailored trousers, all by DANIEL W. FLETCHER. 

     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 years 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! 

     Did you know how to actually make clothes before University?

     No I had no idea. I learnt pattern cutting and sewing, having those skills and knowledge how to create a garment really dictates my style of design. If you don't know how to cut something then it becomes very difficult to design it. 

     Where did you go in your placement year?

     I went to Lanvin for 6 months and then onto Louis Vuitton for another 6 months which was so great. I got to work with Kim Jones and Lucas Ossendrijver who had a huge impact on me. Not only did I learn how you put a collection together but the importance of storytelling in design. Then the year I graduated I was hired by Louis Vuitton again, which meant that I was working 3 days in Paris and then 4 days in London for myself. This Summer was the first time in 3 years where I've taken some time off! 

Kohei wears, Vest with white roping through eyelets, printed silk ascot and leather trousers, all by DANIEL W. FLETCHER. 

White bow tie shirt, jacket and split hem tailored trousers, all by DANIEL W. FLETCHER. White socks by WOLFORD. Shoes by CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN. 

     I also read you were a design consultant for JW Anderson?

 

     I did that last season in their menswear department for 6 months to help design that collection. It was a very open conversation with Jonathan and his stylist Ben, although it ultimately came down to them. I did a lot of research, get-ting the samples made, shooting the Lookbook. Taking myself out of my studio and working for them is something that I really enjoy because all of the ideas I have don't always fit with my brand. Having the freedom to channel those ideas into something else is a really positive thing for me creatively.

 

 

     Do you ever feel cheated because it doesn't have your name on it?

 

     I enjoy the process, I already have my baby, the brand with my name on it. It's not always about the glory, but just getting some ideas out there. JW Anderson also works on a way bigger scale than my brand so it's interesting to see how it all works. For example I worked on their Uniqlo collaboration and to see hundreds of people wearing the collection on the streets is something I don't have with my brand. 

 

 

     What work did you do at Victoria Beckham and Burberry?

 

     I worked at Victoria Beckham and Burberry in the shops when I was at school. That in itself was a really important experience. It helped me pay for university, understand how people shop, appreciate quality, learn how interact with clients. It's helped me now to have a whole 360 degree view on what the business is about. 

This COLLECTION is born out of the idea of an off the rails businessman 

     I guess it also helped with how you want your shop to actually look. You collaborated with acclaimed architect Farshid Moussaui for your pop-up shop in 7 Dials.

     I actually met Farshid through Victoria Beckham, she designed her store on Dover St. We struck up a really good relationship and became friends essentially. When I was in my second season I really wanted some form of retail space, but all that was on offer was really a small shell of a space but she completely redesigned it. She really understands my brand and has supported it from the beginning. 

     Where are you stocked in the UK?

 

     Apart from Liberty, I'm also stocked in 50m in Victoria a beautiful new concept store where I get to curate the space I show in. I think you need to create the world which you want the brand to embody and this is a space that allows me to do that. 

     

 

     I know this is early stages but does this mean you would consider a womenswear line?

     

     I think it could happen some day but not right now as a lot of women buy the current collection anyway. I'm going to stick with the menswear until I get that perfect and then if further down the line the opportunity comes, then I'll take it. 

     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 my stylist Ben 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. 

     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 revitalisation. I really love the idea of a brand where I could delve into their archive and put my own spin on it. 

     Very American Psycho then?

     Yes! We referenced the film a lot for the show make up! 

     Talk to us about your first show at London Fashion week?

It was great! You make so much more of an impact with a show. We did it at 180 Strand which is the official BFC show space which was funny because the last time I showed there two years ago I did a protest for my Spring Summer 2017 collection! It was Men's Fashion week but also the week before the Referendum so I used the collection to celebrate Europe, for example tops had `Stay' emblazoned on them. I got all my friends in the clothes to stand outside the Strand in the pouring rain for half an hour! I felt like I needed to say something as no young people were talking about it. 

     How do you think Brexit could effect fashion?

     It's really hard to know at the moment, but one of the things that will be really sad is if it stops people being able to move so freely between countries. One of the things I most benefitted from was going to Paris and working with these amazing brands that helped me get to where I am now. Or vice versa, if people can't come over here to study, my class at CSM for example was 75% international students, imagine if that can't happen anymore? Having a cross border collaboration and celebrating working together across countries is amazing, it will be so sad if we lose that. I for exam-ple have suppliers in Italy, Denmark and France, so Brexit will affect me directly. 

      What values do you consider fundamental to yourself and also to the brand?

     The same things apply to me as they do the brand. Being outspoken and bringing a problem to people's attention, like the Brexit collection. Everything in the brand reflects back to me in some way. 

     What do you think is the different key point between Daniel W. Fletcher and other brands?

 

     In terms of London's menswear, everything feels very street at the moment, whilst I'm trying to bring a slightly more formal, a slightly more tailored look. Alongside this there is also some 'fashion' in my brand-elements that people still find new and exciting but are crucially more wearable compared to other brands. 

     If money was no object, what other brands apart from your own would you wear?

     Prada and Tom Ford. I'm a sucker for quality!

     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. 

    "Absolutely, that's a dream. Especially somewhere that's an old brand that needs revitalisation. I really love the idea of a brand where I could delve into their archive and put my own spin on it."

about taking a Creative director role at another brand 

Kohei wears, white bow tie shirt and jacket, both by DANIEL W. FLETCHER. 

     But do you think that's a luxury an individual de-signer 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. 

     Which designers do you admire dead or alive?

 

     Ralph Lauren, not necessarily because of his designs, but I really respect the way he built an entire world. You can see a picture and know immediately that it's his brand. 

     A lot of designers collaborate with high street brands, is this something you would consider doing in the future?

 

     Absolutely, I've done something si-milar already. This season I collaborated with Chris-tian Louboutin for the show and I just did some swim shorts with a brand called Boardies which are coming out next year. I loved doing these two projects because it gave me the opportunity to bring the Daniel W. Fletcher world to other products that I don't have in my line. 

     Where do you think Menswear is heading?

 

      I think what's really refreshing is that a lot of designers are breaking down gender barriers by showing men and women's collections together, as well putting men in womenswear and vice versa. 

     What advice would you give to any aspiring desig-ners?

 

     Don't be afraid to fail because you don't have anything to lose. Just go into everything with your best foot forward and work to your best ability. 

    Lastly who do you recommend we interview in our next issue?

     I would like to read an interview with Celine Dion, last year I became really obsessed with her!

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