Flagging this: Daniel Fletcher put himself on the map in 2016 with a banner appliquéd “Stay” fluttering above his anti-Brexit street demonstration of a collection, which he staged outside the main London Fashion Week venue. A different sign of the times—those horrendous eons which have passed in the four years since—is the terrific patchwork quilt that is nonchalantly hanging off the hip of the model at the beginning of his spring 2021 look book. “I can’t stand the idea of anything going into landfill,” he says. “So these pieces are made of all the scraps I’ve saved from all the collections I’ve done. I think some of them go back to when I was interning at Lanvin.”
Fletcher is representative of the in-built sustainable consciousness that young British designers are showing in today’s world. He says that people can order these one-off blankets—and the shirt and shorts that are shown with them—on the Daniel W. Fletcher website, “but there will be a wait for them, and they’ll all be different.” Nobody will worry about that. Because young designers’ followers are increasingly taking new business models—some quick to purchase, some slower—as normal. “Well, there’s not one rule about how to do things anymore, even seasons or fashion weeks, really,” he says, shrugging pleasantly and sounding less rebellious than self-evidently sane.
As things seem to be shaking out, dealing with covid-19 and the rest of it has made young independents more certain of who they are, and how to offer to their generation fashion that’s fun and optimistic on their own terms. Fletcher said he’s dedicated his collection to musicians—to all the people who haven’t been able to perform live this year, but who everyone really misses. “I called it Paint It Black, because my dad used to take me to see the Rolling Stones in Manchester when I was a kid,” he says. “There’s a bit of Mick Jagger in there. A bit of Bowie.”
His split-hem flares and the chain-belt accessories do have something of the air of a rakish ’60s-mod rock star about them. Likewise, the echoes of Bowie in the oyster silk shirt and matching tie, a brown satin evening coat, and maybe in the offhand dandyism implicit in a shirt with an undone bow tie (it’s attached to the shirt) worn with a skinny black tuxedo. Really, though, it’s all part of the 20/20 vision for boys that Fletcher has turned into recognizable signatures, including duffle coats, skinny zipped knits, field jackets, and padded blousons. Like the practical businessman he is, Fletcher has worked out which things he’s releasing earlier, according to winter weather, and which—like the satin shirts—will be coming next spring: “I think we’ll all be wanting a bit of glamour by then.” He can say that again.