Few emerging designers have experienced the kind of start jump Daniel W. Fletcher has. The rising talent studied Menswear at London’s Central Saint Martins and graduated earlier this year. During his time in school, he balanced a number of major internships with established brands, like Victoria Beckham, Burberry, James Long and Hussein Chalayan; he even spent a year in Paris, learning his trade under the guidance of Lanvin Creative Director Lucas Ossendrijver before heading to the leather-goods department at Louis Vuitton under the wing of Style Director Kim Jones.
Fletcher’s graduate collection, which became his official SS ’16 collection, fuses British heritage with luxury sportswear details: asymmetric wool overcoats, printed silk pajamas and fox fur bomber jacket (with sponsorship from Saga Furs) to complete the look. Bonded leather outerwear plays a key part in his collection, featuring appliqué reading “Peckham Pony Club” on hard-shell briefcases in python and suede. With an exclusive stock of this SS ’16 collection scheduled to hit Opening Ceremony, we caught up with the up-and-coming designer to talk through his journey thus far.
Where are you originally from?
“I’m originally from Chester, a small city in northwest England. I moved south to study art foundation at Kingston University, followed by Menswear at Central Saint Martins.”
Talk about your experience at CSM.
“Central Saint Martins was fantastic—exhausting, but fantastic. The workload was intense, but so is the real world, so it was good preparation. There is no compromise on creativity, which really allowed us all to develop as designers.”
Why did you choose to study Menswear?
“I was encouraged to try menswear while on foundation and I instantly felt it made more sense to me. I enjoyed the challenge of it, finding new ways of interpreting men’s clothing into something new and innovative, while retaining a sense of history.”
What was your inspiration behind the collection?
“My graduate collection, which became SS ’16, was a reaction to the gentrification and regeneration of urban areas of London. When I first moved here I lived in Peckham because it was a vibrant yet affordable area but in just a few years it changed so much, with big developers coming in with plans which had no consideration for long term and low income residents. I used Peckham as the back drop for a collection of contrasts which can be seen in areas like Peckham; British heritage with technical sportswear, heavy leather outerwear with lightweight base layers, simple shapes emblazoned with detailed leather ‘Peckham Pony Club’ appliqué.”
Your graduate collection is being sold exclusively at Opening Ceremony. This must be an exciting start for you?
“Absolutely, if it hadn’t been for Opening Ceremony buying my collection, I probably wouldn’t be doing this now. I always intended to go and work for a company when I graduated, but when they approached me about stocking with them I couldn’t turn it down. We launch on [January 8], so everything has already been finished and sent off to them. It was pretty nerve-wracking sealing up the boxes, but now I just can’t wait to see people wearing it.”
Explain “Peckham Pony Club.”
“The ‘Peckham Pony Club’ appliqué on some of my jackets was added to highlight the issues surrounding gentrification. It’s a fictional society I created to take a satirical look at the new perception of Peckham by those who now consider it a cool new place to live. There are many negative effects of gentrification, especially for long-term residents who are forced to move out of areas due to rent increases and for small businesses who can’t compete with big chain brands appearing on the high street; the pony club was my way of raising awareness of these issues in Peckham.”
Having worked alongside many high profile designers, how does this affect your work?
“I’ve taken something different from all of the experiences I’ve had working with other brands in the past. One of the most important was learning how to put a collection together from Kim[Jones] and Lucas [Ossendrijver] the year before I finished CSM. My graduate collection would have been very different without that experience and I am very grateful to them. I am currently working on a few leather goods projects for Louis Vuitton, so I am splitting my week between Paris and London. It’s pretty hectic, but I still feel very new to this having only just graduated. It’s good to keep learning.”
Which city do you think embraces young talent the most?
“Spending half my week in Paris and half in London, I feel completely different in each; London is much more open to new ideas and has great support programs for young talent like Fashion East and Newgen, whereas Paris is much more focused on big brands with rich history. I find that London is becoming more and more difficult to live in though, especially when you are starting out and as the housing market spirals further and further out of control, I hear of more and more young people leaving the city; I hope we can find a way to stop this and retain what makes London great.”
What can we expect from you in the near future?
“SS ’16 production is now all finished, so we will be launching in Opening Ceremony stores, as well as at www.danielwfletcher.com on [January 8] with a capsule of eight pieces from my graduate collection. We are going to celebrate this with a party in London during LCM and then it’s onto the next collection. It’s already well on its way, but there’s a lot to do before I present it at the start of February. I am showing this first collection off schedule, so I decided to do this because it didn’t feel necessary for me to position myself alongside the mass of other brands during fashion week, and doing this allows me to present it in exactly the right way, in the right location and on my own terms, which I think is important for my first collection since graduating.”