As we come out from the shackles of the pandemic, Daniel W. Fletcher, the founder of his namesake label and the menswear artistic director of Fiorucci spoke to us about the complexities of designing multiple collections simultaneously, with mention of a few drunk karaoke videos thrown in for good measure.
Check out the interview below…
You’re a big proponent of sustainability – mainly reducing waste and producing the majority of your collections in the UK. How are you constantly evolving the Daniel W. Fletcher brand to ensure it aligns with your brand codes?
I’m always looking for ways to reduce my environmental impact, I don’t want what I do to damage Earth in any way so that’s something I try to consider in every decision I make now. There’s been a huge shift in attitude towards sustainability in the last few years and the benefit of that is there are a lot more resources available which are helping me to do that. Whether that be new developments in fabric and manufacturing or just information being more readily available to help me educate myself. The main thing I try to do is question what I’m doing and if there is a better, more sustainable way of doing it.
You’ve recently implemented a ready-to-order tactic – can you tell us a little bit more about this?
It was something I have wanted to do for a while but it’s quite a complicated to manage; making sure lead times aren’t too long and there are fabrics available but it’s meant some of the more complicated show pieces from the collection can now be bought. It also means there isn’t leftover stock and there is a lot less waste because on those pieces we just make what we sell. Some of these pieces are made using scraps and leftovers so are completely one of a kind, this is part of my mission to use up every piece of fabric we have so is not about selling huge volumes but a handful of unique sustainable pieces.
How important is social media to you? With brands going off Instagram, how has the digital platform benefited you?
I saw huge growth after I was on Next In Fashion on Netflix, it was funny because it opened the brand up to a much wider audience that probably would have never heard of it otherwise but it meant that a lot more people saw what I was doing. I still find it a bit overwhelming though, it’s like a full-time job which I would have been fired from many times for posting all of my drunk karaoke videos!
Your approach takes British culture, society, and ideals into design consideration. Based on the state of the world, what’s your current perspective? How will that translate into your designs?
Despite everything that has happened in the past year I’m feeling optimistic so I’m channelling that into my designs, making clothes that make you want to go out, all the things we haven’t been able to wear for the last year, shiny pants and silk shirts, a reminder that we won’t be in lockdown forever.
What have you been doing to keep yourself optimistic and inspired?
I’ve lost count of how many collections I’ve designed in lockdown now, the nature of doing two brands means that I never really stop, which I’ve been quite grateful for this past year; no time to get bored. I made some quilts using offcuts and fabrics in the first lockdown and this then turned into a much bigger project and became part of my SS21 collection and now are made each season using all of the leftovers and are sold as part of the collection.
How has your view on design evolved over the past year? And, how will we see this in the brands you are at the helm of?
The last year has made me more conscious of how big my collections are, how often I show them and the way in which I do that. I think the industry was in a cycle that didn’t make sense, from a timing perspective but also environmentally; taking a moment to slow down and offer a more considered approach to fashion is the future, and I hope the rest of the industry will take the same approach in a post COVID world.
Your work at Fiorucci took the world by storm – reinvigorating a historical brand with new and fresh design motifs. What excites you the most about your job there?
That’s very kind, thank you! It has such a huge history though I hardly feel like I’ve scratched the surface yet, if you think about all of the people that made it what is was in the 70s (Warhol, Haring, Madonna, Terry Jones) there are some big shoes to fill. I’m constantly amazed by things I find in the archive, I think that’s one of the most exciting things about the brand for me, being able to take something from there and re-interpret it for today.