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Fashion designer Daniel w. Fletcher is inspired by people being ‘true to themselves’

"It has to really come from the heart, and I think that is where you will find originality."

By Alastair James

Words: Attitude staff; Images: Kit Dale

In partnership with Jaguar

Daniel w. Fletcher, says he’s always inspired by people being true to themselves and being original as he reflects on the origins of his career. 

The fashion designer also shares his journey as a designer and getting to a point where he’s comfortable with who he is in Attitude x Jaguar present: The Creators.

Attitude has partnered with Jaguar to amplify the stories of three queer creatives who live loudly and unapologetically in their creative fields.

Daniel was joined on location in Palm Springs, California, by deaf model and activist Nyle DiMarco and actor and singer Layton Williams as the trio discussed their personal and professional journeys and making it as out and proud queer people in their respective industries.

“I think my interest in fashion started really early but without me possibly realising it,” Daniel remembers. “I was always matching my t-shirts with my socks from the age of five,” he adds. But it wasn’t until he was facing the end of school that he realised it might be something he could turn into a career.

Daniel w. Fletcher (Photography: Kit Dale)

Fast forward to the end of his degree at Central Saint Martins in London and the contemporary artist began sending his graduate collection off to agents and magazines, hoping for a break. 

He recalls, “someone came back to me and was like, ‘Oh, yeah, we want to do a feature.’ So, then I did an interview, and then they wrote this story like I’d already set up a brand but at this point, I’d sewn this collection myself.”

Not knowing how he would go about setting up a label he was given a helping hand when the US organisation Opening Ceremony came calling and bought his collection. But then the real break came along. 

“And then a man called Harry Styles came along and he bought all of the shirts from the collection. That was really the start of it, I had a label then without even really realising.”

Daniel has much to boast about. He was nominated for the prestigious LVMH prize in 2017, and a year later was named a winner of the European Semi-Final of the International Woolmark Prize in 2018. he has also received a Future British Award in addition to being named as one of Drapers 30 Under 30. 

An appearance on Netflix’s Next in Fashion helped propel the London-based designer into the mainstream. 

Left-right: Layton Williams joins Daniel w. Fletcher and Nyle DiMarco in Attitude x Jaguar present: The Creators (Photography: Kit Dale)

“When I first started I used to make terrible decisions because I did what I thought people wanted me to do and then I would look back at the collections and be like, ‘why did I do that?’ And now if I don’t believe in it, then we don’t put it out. But it took me a long time to get to that point.

“Something that I always find really inspiring is when people are really true to themselves. I don’t want to do things just because other people expect them of me. It has to really come from the heart, and I think that is where you will find originality.”

Daniel marks the moment he became a “better designer” as when he got to the point of realising: “This is what I want to do and this is who I am”.

“Being comfortable with yourself and not worrying about what anyone else thinks is really the driving force of what I do.”

Daniel w. Fletcher (Photography: Kit Dale)

While Daniel is happy for younger people today who have much more representation in the media Daniel wonders that if he had had that growing up, “maybe I would have come out much sooner and got to this place that I’m at now where I’m really comfortable and I’m really happy with who I am.”

“I didn’t do textiles when I was at school because no other boys were doing it and I was embarrassed by that, but now I feel totally comfortable with who I am, and I’m surrounded by so many people from the LGBTQ community who really inspire me and I feel lucky to be part of it, actually.”

For more from Attitude x Jaguar click here.