Today, the UK is voting for its government. While in the capital, London Fashion Week Men’s is kicking off – and what with the current climate, there’s no doubt we’ll be seeing a political undercurrent run through many designers’ collections. One we can count on for this is the outspoken Daniel w. Fletcher, the young menswear designer whose SS18 collection we are exclusively previewing here today.
For Fletcher, style and activism are far from mutually exclusive. The London menswear designer has previously used his collections as a platform to comment on issues including the NHS crisis, UK housing, and Brexit, often via simple word-slogans (like ‘STAY’, ‘RENT’, ‘Save our NHS’, etc). For SS18, Fletcher has introduced a new buzz word open, ‘OUT’.
Ahead of his presentation on Saturday, Fletcher shares a sneak peek of the collection in the form of snaps from his fittings, with photography by Richard Dowker and fashion by Ben Schofield. The designer tells us why one interpretation of ‘OUT’ resonates with him most, and why it’s so important for young people to make themselves heard – and VOTE TODAY.
Tempe Nakiska: Can you tell us what top line things you were thinking of while designing your SS18 collection?
Daniel w. Fletcher: The recurring themes of British heritage and 1970s sportswear which regularly inspire my collections are explored further for SS18, but in a more stripped back way. The pieces are cleaner as I have tried to make traditional menswear feel contemporary with colour blocking and minimal detailing. I looked at a lot of Luke Smalley’s photographs too which I think you’ll see coming through in the gym-wear base layers that underpin the collection.
Tempe: Are you relatively ready to go for Saturday? How are you feeling?
Daniel: This collection came together quite quickly compared to previous seasons, I always feel like it’s a rush but I set an earlier deadline for casting and styling so it meant I had to be pretty much done a week before. But of course I’m not, the knitwear is still on the machine at the factory and there’s a UPS delivery lost somewhere between Heathrow and Hackney with the caps in it that I am praying will make it in time for Saturday. I feel relatively calm though, if there are things missing then I am the only one who will know that, and now you guys too, I suppose.
Tempe: The idea of OUT, on one of the t-shirts, is pretty open to interpretation. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Daniel: I’ve done pieces with words on before which have been quite focussed, like STAY for SS17 which was showing my support for the EU. There are a couple of pieces with OUT badges on in this collection though which can be taken as you like, it could be OUT of the EU, OUT of the closet, or Tories OUT (my personal favourite)!
“If young people want to be taken seriously and for our voices to be heard then we need to make politicians work for our votes and create policies that protect our interests.”
Tempe: How will you be voting in the election and why?
Daniel: That’s easy, I will be voting for Labour. Not only were the Tories the ones who got us into this Brexit mess as a way to gain power but they now want to sell our NHS and continue selling arms to Saudi Arabia. Jeremy Corbyn on the other hand wants to scrap tuition fees so everyone can go to university, invest in the arts, increase the minimum wage and he certainly won’t be holding hands with Donald Trump. No contest.
Tempe: Why is it so important for young people to make themselves heard this election?
Daniel: Voter turnout amongst 18-24 year olds is only expected to be 42% tomorrow, we really need to change this. If young people want to be taken seriously and for our voices to be heard then we need to make politicians work for our votes and create policies that protect our interests: the first way to do this is to make sure we go out and vote.
Further image credits: Casting, Sophie Lynas. Model Riad Houadef @LEDA