Vogue meets tradition in Nicholas Daley’s model world

The London-based menswear designer works with a circle of collaborators to bring his eponymous label to life across imagery, graphics, exhibitions and live music. He talks to us about his holistic approach to brand-building

When it comes to his brand world, Nicholas Daley leaves no stone unturned. The menswear designer graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2013 and launched his eponymous label and debut collection the following year. Since then, he has become one of the most closely watched names on the London Fashion Week calendar and was a finalist of the prestigious LVMH Prize last year (the award was divided equally between all finalists as a result of the pandemic).

To get to where he is today, Daley has relied on deception – the good kind, of course. He stages music gigs disguised as fashion shows, his look books are reinvented as culture zines, and he’s been known to replace models with musicians and martial artists.

It’s all part of his cultural crossover that seamlessly blends the worlds of music, fashion and the visual arts, an approach Daley had been experimenting with as far back as his degree. For his graduate collection he enlisted renowned DJ and filmmaker Don Letts to walk the runway and produce a mix for the show (Letts has become a mainstay in the Daley roster of close collaborators). “Even at that very early stage, I guess there was this world or overall picture – it wasn’t just all about the garments,” Daley says.

This approach put him on the map from the get go, and Daley agrees it has stood him in good stead: “I was really lucky that the tutors I had were like, ‘just do you’ and celebrate my culture and community and stuff. I think without that open-mindedness and freeness within the world of CSM – if it was more constricted to a certain sort of template – maybe I wouldn’t have had that early momentum.”

Top: Behind the scenes photo from Akinola Davies Jr’s film for Nicholas Daley. Above: Forgotten Fury AW21 campaign. Both photographs by Piczo

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