Responding to current affairs and cultural shifts is always at the forefront of Daniel W Fletcher’s mind. Therefore, when a major global pandemic comes along and jolts the world out-of-tune, you can guarantee that the designer’s response is going to be considered and thoughtful.
Having already previously decided to remove himself from the traditional schedule for FW20, this season was always going to prove a change: choosing to instead release his collection to press and customer on the same date (today), in order to cater directly to his consumer while also setting his own timeframes. Yet Fletcher could never have imagined the turmoil that was to truly shape his FW20 collection. “When the virus hit it had a huge impact on manufacturing and the possibility of not being able to produce this collection at all became very real,” he says, reflecting on the destabilising effect of Covid-19 on his own work. “When my factories closed I wanted to make sure that the seamstresses I work with were still able to support themselves. I’ve spent the past few months working with them directly and sending materials to their homes. Now, I feel this collection is a testament to the skill and hard work of these amazing women: I dedicate this collection to them.”
This added space between Fletcher and his seamstresses actually resulted in them having to work closer in terms of communication and trust, and the resulting FW20 collection is a testament to their ability to adapt and create. At the same time, with his usual supply-chains no longer in operation, Fletcher took the opportunity to reuse, recycle and reinvent the resources around him – see those daytime silks usually reserved for tailoring, and the white monochrome denim sets hand-painted by Fletcher during lockdown.
Inspired by Fletcher’s own experiences of growing up and working in modern Britain – an ongoing reference for the designer – the collection represents a dialogue with the country’s positivity and optimism in the face of disruption and unrest. “It’s about freedom of expression, gender, sexuality and the overriding message on discovering identity,” Fletcher explains. Within this context, the designer’s signature tailoring is further explored alongside deconstructed outerwear, flipped to display linings and structural lines, cummerbund-style wraps that hug the waist like bandages, and thick, sleeveless rollnecks. Elsewhere, silk neckties speak of thoughtful sensitivity as delicate lace-trimmed nightwear is repurposed as daywear. While many aspects of the world have been stood still, Fletcher’s creative prowess continues to grow.
GALLERYCatwalk looks from this show