One of the pandemic’s only pleasures (emphasis on the only) has been watching designers near and far take charge of their own narratives. With the idea of “seasoned” clothing practically pointless whilst we’re stuck in the gaff all day, the pressure on designers to rapidly switch things up between collections all seems a bit silly when you think about it.
Add in a broken – all-digital – show calendar to this state of fashion flux, and finally, independent fashion businesses have the gift of time to produce what they want, when they want. London menswear designer Nicholas Daley has relished in this new-found freedom. Picking up karate over lockdown (he’s already got up to red belt!), Daley used his SS21 collection to study the intersection between martial arts and reggae culture in the 1970s, in particular, Peter Tosh; a martial arts fan who would interweave combat moves into his live performances.
This time around, Daley broadens his scope – looking to the Black martial art heroes of 1970s cinema – in particular, Jim Kelly – and the music that soundtracked the times, from Curtis Mayfield to James Brown. The result is a sublime meeting of classic Daley styles – workwear-inflicted jackets, relaxed woollen trousers – now elevated in seventies-inflicted cuts. He worked with silk weavers Vanners on an eye-grabbing tiger stripe jacquard used on a frog button jacket and trouser set, alongside a Japanese dye specialist for decorative prints across kimonos and beach shirts, all worn alongside Daley’s traditional tartans.
Photography by Piczo.