Geri Haliwell and Princess Diana are the powerhouse women who inspired Daniel W. Fletcher’s AW21 collection.
I think we can all agree this year’s been a bit of a strange one – Daniel W. Fletcher certainly would. The designer and Next In Fashion finalist has seen his work become a lifeline throughout the pandemic, ushering him out of bed and straight into the studio every day to figure out the necessary steps for his fashion empire.
“Everything that’s happened this year has really made me take a step back,” Fletcher explains of the runup to his AW21 collection. When the pandemic initially hit back in March last year, Fletcher describes what could only be chaos for a small-business owner, with wholesalers cancelling orders left and right as all non-essential retail was closed for the foreseeable.
With orders lost or totally unfulfilled, Fletcher had to improvise, and do it fast. Having perhaps unintentionally cut out the middle-man, the designer then focused much more on the efforts of his online shop, allowing a newfound connection with his customer where he discovered an entire spectrum of women already buying his work. Kissing goodbye to the men’s fashion week schedule altogether as he seeks to merge his new season’s offerings, these efforts have pushed Fletcher far outside his comfort zone, to think harder as to not only who his new customer is, but also what they want from a brand new fashion landscape for his first womenswear offering.
Working exceedingly close to his archive, for AW21, Fletcher wanted to turn his brands ethos on its head, bringing the masculine to the feminine. “There’s a slight military and equestrian inspiration running through it all,” says the designer, “led from the British heritage that’s always inspired my work.” From dark slim-fit trousers to double-breasted jackets, Fletcher was keen to marry brand staples with the fruits of his new vision, bringing back contrast stitching, sophisticated denim and sourcing the fabric of his merino wool kilts from mills up in Yorkshire.
Playing out alongside his passion for tradition is Fletcher’s childhood – “I’m a product of the 90s/00s!” – thus, the collection also draws on the likes of Princess Di and Geri Haliwell, and all the other powerhouse women whose stylistic choices represent their armour for which they battle the world. “I am totally against fast fashion,” says Fletcher, “so it was also important for me to build this like base layer of like, beautiful things that women would want to keep in their wardrobes for fifty years.”
Ultimately, Fletcher’s future isn’t about seasons or trends, it’s about creating a solid base of great clothes that pay homage to the best of Britain, be it with luxury Yorkshire wools, or the scraps found in his studio.