Finding a fan in Harry Styles, being name-dropped by Victoria Beckham and getting snatched up to work at Louis Vuitton, you need to know Daniel Fletcher.
Chester boy Daniel Fletcher is either in London or Paris right now. The Central Saint Martins graduate spends three days a week in the French capital, assisting in accessory design for Louis Vuitton and the other four in London, working on his own label.
In case you haven’t heard of him, here’s a few fun facts: his graduate collection, inspired by Peckham (think the glorious grubbiness of Canavan’s Pool Hall cleaned up with a nod to gentrification) was stocked by Opening Ceremony, his first paying customer was the dreamy Harry Styles and he used to work in store for Victoria Beckham (he’s that Daniel from VB’s 70 Questions video for Vogue).
After being snatched up and summoned to Paris by Kim Jones, one of the most promising young designers in London cemented his place as a name to know for 2016. We talk inspiration, what goes down at LV and the future of fashion with the designer who’s helping to build it.
Where do you draw inspiration from on a day to day basis?
I’m always effected by what is happening around me, quite often this is political and my collections are a reaction to issues I feel strongly about. For example when I was designing AW16, this was my first collection since graduating and it was all about growing up and celebrating British youth. I was having to do a lot of growing up myself and trying to find my way in the world made me think even more about how difficult it is to be starting out now. We may not have a national health service in a few years, that scares me so I embroidered ‘save our NHS’ onto the pockets of trousers which look like medical scrubs, it’s my way of raising awareness and expressing how I am feeling.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve had to sacrifice for your career?
Days off? I’ve worked nearly every day since I graduated but the way I look at it is I am 25 and have had some amazing opportunities since I left Saint Martins last summer, so I am going to make the most of every one of those, there’s time for days off later.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Pay attention in French lessons, it would make my life a lot easier right now.
The landscape of traditional “high fashion” is changing with the digital age leading to collections dropping online straight after runway shows and collections for both genders, what do you envisage is the next step? Do you see this as a positive thing?
The idea of dropping a collection straight into stores is completely unfeasible for new brands like mine, I can’t see how it would be possible and I am not sure I would want to do it either. If something is so easily accessible it loses its desirability.
Similarly, the rise of Instagram and blogging has meant almost anyone can advertise themselves as a designer or stylist regardless of experience or education. Do you think there’s a danger that Internet trends and hunger for likes online can sometimes eclipse talent?
Setting up a label is so different now to what it was 10 years ago, in the past designers may struggle to get noticed for years whereas now it can happen overnight, and not necessarily for the right reasons. For me, social media has had a positive effect in terms of gaining exposure, for example one of the first requests I had for press was from a well-established magazine and the email I received had Instagram screen shots attached from the fashion director. But it’s easy to get swept up in the whole thing, just because someone has a million followers it does not mean they are worth paying attention to, just look at the Kardashians.
What do you most admire about the overall approach to work at Vuitton?
The freedom that you are given as a designer at Vuitton is one of the most impressive things about the house. Designing for myself and designing for Vuitton is completely different, when I am working on something for my own label I have to figure out every aspect of how I can make it, whereas at Vuitton I can draw a product and see it made a reality a couple of days later. I work in a great team in the leather goods department and if I have an idea I want to try there is always someone behind me to support it. That kind of freedom is something you don’t get in a lot of houses and is something I try not to take for granted.
What’s been your favourite moment working with Louis V?
I designed a metal cocktail set to go inside one of the hard cases in the last men’s show, it was completely out of my comfort zone but thanks to the amazing team I work with it turned out brilliantly, seeing it finished and go into its trunk was a great moment!
All clothing Daniel. W. Fletcher AW16
Daniel W. Fletcher
Carolina Fernandez and Abigail Fletcher
Cher Savery at David Artists using AVEDA
Violet Zeng using MAC COSMETICS
Sophie Lynas at Leda Casting
Emma Corrin at Milk, Jack Burke at Wilhelmina, Leigh McManus at Wilhelmina