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Daniel W Fletcher unveils monochromatic womenswear debut inspired by the women of the nineties

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 3 days ago Naomi May

It was the women of the early nineties that inspired Next in Fashion star Daniel Fletcher’s inaugural womenswear collection.

“I hadn’t actually realised it as I was designing but when we came to putting the looks together I could see all those girls I went to school with in there,” Fletcher tells the Standard. “It’s very Geri Haliwell circa 1997 with the shearling jacket and mini skirt and the Tammy Girl-esque skirt-over-trousers combo.”

The 18-look collection, which comprises monochromatic separates and Fletcher’s signature refined tailoring, was unveiled today as part of London Fashion Week in the form of a look book, which was shot at the designer’s studio in Hackney.

a person standing in front of a curtain: Daniel W. Fletcher AW21Image courtesy of brand © Provided by Evening Standard Daniel W. Fletcher AW21Image courtesy of brand

While this marks the designer’s first foray into womenswear, Fletcher is clear that his clothes are intentionally genderless (both Harry Styles and Dua Lipa have bought and worn pieces since Fletcher’s inaugural menswear collection in 2015.) “For me a shirt is a shirt, and trousers are trousers, they don’t have a gender so anyone should be able to wear them,” he says.

Sustainability is at the forefront of the designer’s agenda. To craft this collection’s patchwork looks, he used deadstock material from his factory floor. “There is so much waste fabric already out there that I want to try and find ways to use that before making new fabrics; it’s all part of my mission to reduce the environmental impact of my brand, if we don’t do that now then at some point there won’t even be a planet let alone a fashion industry,” he states.

a person standing posing for the camera: Daniel W. Fletcher AW21Image courtesy of brand © Provided by Evening Standard Daniel W. Fletcher AW21Image courtesy of brand

The Central Saint Martins alum tapped trans TikTok influencers Maddie and Margot Whitely, who have a collective following just shy of 425,000 on the social juggernaut, to model the collection and be “the first Daniel W. Fletcher women.” He found them on the app while scrolling and “immediately loved their spirit and attitude and felt that they really embodied the spirit of the brand.”

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“Daniel pushes boundaries between traditional feminine and masculine clothing and a conversation about gender fluidity in fashion is one that needs to be had,” explains Maddie, “We loved Daniel’s work from his show on Netflix, so we were fangirling a little bit. We’ve never worked with someone on their debut collection so it was a really special moment to be a part of the start of his womenswear journey.”

a man wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a curtain: Daniel W. Fletcher AW21Image courtesy of brand © Provided by Evening Standard Daniel W. Fletcher AW21Image courtesy of brand

The choice was intentional, as it is through the medium of clothes and his following that Fletcher, who is also the menswear artistic director for Fiorucci, endeavours to support the queer community. “It’s a responsibility to follow in the footsteps of all those queer people who paved the way for us to live as openly as we do today,” he explains, “They walked to we could run - well now it’s time to start sprinting and win that race for openness, equality and acceptance and the way that I can do that is using my platform to support and raise up the community!”

Fletcher’s also utilised his platform – which swelled by 300,000 thanks to his appearance on Netflix’s Next in Fashion - to instigate change. Last year alone, he hand-made masks for his grandmother’s care home, donated a percentage of his brand’s proceeds to charities in support of Covid-19 relief and Black Lives Matter, and worked with local seamstresses to ensure they remained financially stable amid the pandemic.

He concedes, “This women’s collection came out of wanting to push myself creatively after the mess of last year and make something positive after having all this extra time to create. I never take for granted how lucky I am to do something I love for a job every day.”

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