Top image: The original BMW Junior Team, 1977: (L to R in driving suits) Manfred Winkelhock (DEU), Marc Surer (SUI), and American Eddie Cheever.
Weaving political statements into his designs is something Daniel W. Fletcher thrives on – and let’s be honest, this past year has provided plenty of ammo. Having previously drawn attention to Britain’s housing crisis through his rent caps and staged an anti-Brexit protest at last season’s London Fashion Week Men’s, this season will no doubt see the young CSM-graduate picking his brain as to how we’ve ended up in this current political state.
Filtering his political statements through youth, country life and schoolyard tropes, Fletcher’s collections point towards a new generation who are looking to plough through the political pitfalls – much like himself. As he prepares for a special FW17 presentation, Fletcher gives us the inside scoop on his latest collection, centred around unification, standing up to social injustice, and 1970s blazer-tie combo school uniforms.
Alex James Taylor: Can you run us through the initial trails of thought while designing your FW17 collection?
Daniel W. Fletcher: The collection feels slightly more formal, it’s smarter, and this is something that came from wanting to send strong message. 2016 was not a great year, it feels like we have taken a step back towards rightwing politics, xenophobia and protectionism and I want to start 2017 off on the right foot and make it clear we are not prepared to bow down to this. I thought a lot about bringing people together and how teams use uniforms to do this, so there are a lot of references to sports kits and 1970’s uniforms.
Alex: Is there an experience or moment that you can pull out as having heavily impacted the direction of this collection?
Daniel: The result of the referendum and the election of Trump made me feel a huge sense of frustration, it feels like my generation are being ignored and in this collection I want to reflect the energy of the youth to fight for a multicultural and equal society.
“2016 was not a great year, it feels like we have taken a step back towards rightwing politics, xenophobia and protectionism and I want to start 2017 off on the right foot and make it clear we are not prepared to bow down to this.”
Alex: You often use your work to comment on the political climate, what is your focus for FW17?
Daniel: There isn’t one specific political focus that the collection has taken on, instead its more about sending a powerful message and bringing people together. It plays on the idea of power of dressing, playing the suits at their own game.
Alex: Why do you think fashion is a useful tool for exploring politics?
Daniel: I think whilst you have a platform for expression, it is important to use that to do something positive, if I can repair any of the damage of the last year and re-unite people then that is a good way to start 2017. I think that young people should be engaged in politics, it often feels like our voices can be overlooked, so using the collection to express my views is quite a natural thing for me.
Alex: Congrats on your pop-up shop, how’s that been going? Will there be anything happening there around LCM?
Daniel: I was really pleased with the response to the shop, it was good to see people interacting with the product in the context of a store, it made having my own brand feel very real! I am thinking about showing the collection in the pop up space after my presentation in January, it’s always so different seeing the pieces outside of the context of a look book or presentation and this way I could allow followers of the brand to place pre-orders; I’m not about to start doing see-now buy-now but this would be a nice way of allowing people to access the pieces that don’t always make it through the demands of wholesale.
Daniel W. Fletcher’s FW17 presentation will take place on Saturday 7th January in London. Stay tuned to HERO for full fashion week coverage from London, Milan and Paris.