Dear Old Blighty
Photography by John Bulmer
Having just last year presented his debut catwalk show, Daniel W. Fletcher is revisiting the same aesthetic codes inspired by British heritage and renowned social photographers. Unlike previous collections – steeped in protest and 1970s sportswear – this season will bring a more personal reflection to Fletcher’s upbringing in the North of England, albeit with a subtle nod to the political uncertainty of our times.
This season the Chesire-born designer has looked towards the work of renowned photographer John Bulmer for a special collaboration. Famed for his documentation of the North in the 60s, Bulmer’s portrayal of British life – mainly across Yorkshire and Lancashire – captured a time of key socio-political change alongside life’s simply pleasures; such as snooker halls, chippys, evenings in the pub and weekends on the football terraces.
In 2019 we have our own political tribulations (yes, Brexit is still happening). As the whole country has a modern existential crisis of its own, here Fletcher his taking part in his own bit of soul-searching, working in collaboration with mills and factories from across the country to celebrate Britain’s incredible manufacturers. With an adept knack for weaving current affairs into his design work, you can be sure that Fletcher has something special up his sleeve for FW19.
What’s been on your mind this season?
Daniel W. Fletcher: I’ve been thinking a lot about heritage, particularity the North of England where I am from; both in terms of style and also about all of the amazing things that come out of it. So I have worked with a lot of mills and factories from around the country to create the collection. I also looked at a lot of John Bulmer’s photographs of the north from the 1960s, a time when there was a shift in the cultural landscape and traditional industries struggled to survive and thought how it related to the current socio-political climate with Brexit looming and the uncertainty that surrounds it.
Last season saw you present your first catwalk show, how was that? Has that experience influenced you at all in terms of future formats?
DWF: I enjoyed the format of a catwalk, I think it really worked for that collection but I still stand by my view that there are so many ways to show a collection and a catwalk is not always the most effective. The show this season is going to be more intimate, more like a salon style and I have played around with the layout of the space and found an old factory in east London for the venue which really suits the look and feel of my designs.
“There are some incredible manufacturers in this country and I wanted this collection to support them and explore what they have to offer.”
Photography by John Bulmer
What’s happened in the past few months that’s influenced you?
DWF: One of the things that influenced me was my submission for the International Woolmark Prize, I was invited to the Wool lab to look at all of the fabrics and suppliers they work with and I discovered all of these mills up north producing the most beautiful fabrics, this then became a starting point for the collection. There are some incredible manufacturers in this country and I wanted this collection to support them and explore what they have to offer. I think this is especially important now when there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding trade in the UK to be supporting traditional craft and industry.
What’s the overriding feeling of your FW19 collection?
DWF: It feels very British, and in some ways traditional but there is still this element of it being ever so slightly off, as is the case with a lot of my collections. Hems are slashed, seams exposed and proportions skewed to create looks which feel familiar but unexpected.
Daniel W. Fletcher’s FW19 collection takes place on Saturday 5th at 11:00.
Stay tuned for our full LFWM coverage.