As Nicholas Daley Launches a Music Grant with Fred Perry, We Chat with the Designer About His Creative Community

To coincide with the launch of Nicholas Daley’s autumn/winter 2021 Fred Perry collaboration – featuring tartan tracksuits, 1970s knits and punk-inspired outerwear – the London-based designer has set up a grant for unsigned musicians. Targetting up-and-coming, UK-based bands and solo artists, the Fred Perry x Nicholas Daley music grant will offer a recording masterclass at the historic Metropolis Studios in West London. Applications will be narrowed down by a specialist panel of experts part of Nicholas Daley’s universe, including DJs Zakia Sewell and Don Letts, as well as musicians Obongjayer and Nabihah Iqbal. Music minded and community-driven, we spoke with Daley inside the newest issue of 10 Men about the extended creative cohort that surrounds both him and his brand. 

Community, culture, craftsmanship. These are the three mantras Nicholas Daley set out to champion when founding his eponymous label back in 2015. Using his practice to explore both his Scottish and Jamaican heritage, this menswear maven has quickly emerged as one of the most exciting names on the London Fashion Week schedule. His catwalks-cum-concerts have featured performances from a collection of London’s most exciting musicians, including Shabaka Hutchings, Mansur Brown and jazz outfit Sons of Kemet, who Daley dressed at last year’s Glastonbury festival. “I couldn’t do my brand without having these moments where I can bring people together through my creative work,” says Daley. “I’m trying to keep a very organic, pure connection with all [these musicians].”

For Daley’s AW20 collection – dubbed The Abstract Truth – the designer invited south-London jazz musicians Kwake Bass, Wu-Lu and Rago Foot to give the fashion pack a psychedelic rock masterclass, perfectly complementing the Afro-futurist tailoring Daley sent down the catwalk.

While brands across the globe may work with an artist for a one-off collection or a single campaign, Daley’s collaboration with his musical family is constantly on the move, as his work continues to inform theirs and vice versa. Such a tight-knit sense of community comes from Daley’s parents, who ran one of Scotland’s first reggae club nights in the 1970s: a safe space for people of colour to come together as one.

“Right now, in the scenario we’re in politically, socially and economically, I think one positive thing that I can hopefully bring to the table is a positive energy,” he says. “I want to bring people together through my creative world.”

What does community mean to you?

“It’s a group of people coming together to support and work with each other to try to improve the world culturally, socially, economically. I know within fashion there are lots of other brands who work with musicians and what I’m doing isn’t necessarily new, but the way I’m approaching it is really dealing with the artist or musician on a one-to-one basis before we do any catwalk or any sort of project. I have built these relationships with these individuals for several years, supporting each other and growing our creative worlds.”

Why do you think it’s important to surround yourself with a strong creative community?

“I want to elevate my work and my vision but also do the same for the people who I respect and admire. Why not go on this journey with friends and peers? That’s definitely what I think the industry could do more of. Whether it’s poetry, fashion, music or illustration – I’m just trying to fuse all these different creative mediums as well as my own fashion collections, which only makes the story richer and more interesting.”

Photography by Bolade Banjo. The Fred Perry x Nicholas Daley AW20 collaboration is available online October 15th, you can apply to the music grant here.

Taken from Issue 52 of 10 Men – COMMUNITY, BELONGING, UPLIFTING – available to purchase here.

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