the reality of putting on a fashion show
Daniel W. Fletcher shares his Instax diary documenting the lead up his spring/summer 19 fashion week show.
I started thinking about autumn/winter 19 back in July, after I was announced as one of the finalists for the Woolmark Prize. The collection I designed for the Woolmark Prize really fed into what I did for my main collection. They invited me to the Wool-Lab where they introduced me to all of these amazing wool mills we have in the UK and I was blown away by the craft we still have here in the UK and wanted to use that in the collection. I visited some factories in the north (where I am from) and was able to work with them to create the collection.
A few months ago I somehow ended up getting involved in a dog fashion show (seriously) and making a DWF outfit for a French bulldog called Keith. I went to measure him up at his office (JJ Media at Perseverance Works in Shoreditch) and when I got there I knew straight away that it was where I wanted to show this season. It was an old factory, so suited the style of the collection and I was able to do whatever I liked with it. Spring/summer 19 was my first runway show and I really went hard with it, did this big show and spent way more money than I should have, it felt right for that season but when it came to autumn/winter 19 I wasn’t really sure what the right format for me was.
I’m a firm believer that there are many ways to release a collection and a runway is not always the right one. This venue allowed me to play around with the format. We made it more like a salon show and suspended a sculpture in the middle of the space (a single piece of houndstooth cloth woven in Huddersfield and cast in resin to represent the Yorkshire moors, designed by my sister Abigail Fletcher), which the models moved around.
When I was researching for the collection I looked at a lot of John Bulmer's photographs of the North from the 60s and 70s. He was a photojournalist and his images capture a time of political turmoil which feels extremely relevant today. I kept going back to this image taken outside Manchester United’s football ground in 1976 of a man carrying a sign saying “Prepare to meet thy God”. It's so powerful I really wanted to use it in the collection. In late December I found John’s address and wrote him a letter. Then on New Year's Eve he called me to say he would be happy for me to use it and that’s how we ended up collaborating on my silk shirts for the season. It was very fast and I am honoured to have collaborated with someone whose work I have admired for so long.
Casting was a bit of a whirlwind this season, (whose idea was it to start fashion week on January 5th anyway?) We ended up with an amazing line-up thanks to Sophie Lynas, my casting director, and Ben Schofield, my stylist (both of whom are phenomenal and I am forever indebted to), but we were still seeing guys straight off the train from Paris at 10pm the night before the show, it was pretty tight! Thankfully Tetley sent us a mountain of tea bags to keep us going!