Tuesday 23rd February

| BY Paul Toner

Daniel w. Fletcher: Ready-to-wear AW21

You’d think Daniel w. Fletcher, one of London’s brightest independent designers, was a mad man to think of expanding his brand in the middle of a pandemic. Until now, his eponymous label has only ever done menswear (Fletcher is also the men’s artistic director at Fiorucci). Yet the stillness brought from lockdown has offered Fletcher time to think big: starting with his first womenswear collection.

“I already have this strong fanbase of women who buy the collection anyway,” explains Fletcher over Zoom, who says the desire to create the collection came from wanting to cater for this demand and to push himself creatively. It’s a confidence he’s inhabited after his run on Next In Fashion (Netflix’s answer to Project Runway, where Fletcher came second place), where for the first time, he designed for a woman’s body. “Going on the show reminded me that I love designing,” he says.

Fletcher’s womenswear firmly exists in the same universe as his men’s, and moving forward, he will show them combined. Once again looking to British heritage and craft, the designer delved into his archive, picking the best bits from his back catalogue and tailoring them to a woman’s form – with mannish tailoring, workwear-style trousers and merino wool vests being particular standouts.

“I think you can kind of see that I was a product of the ’90s, 2000s era,” says Fletcher, whilst talking me through an array of fluffy-lined riding jackets. Some of the pieces were inspired by Princess Di, but your older sister would’ve probably worn one of these in the queue to the club (remember clubs?). It’s worth noting that much of the collection was made with leftover fabrics from last season (including production off-cuts Fletcher retrieved from the factory floor). It was his answer to making up for the lack of materials readily available in the first lockdown and part of his ongoing effort to reduce as much waste as possible. It’s a quality he shares with many of his London contemporaries, who are paving somewhat of an upcycling revolution – one scrap of fabric at a time.

Photography by Leonardo Veloce.