For S/S 19, seasoned NEWGEN recipient Nicholas Daley had his finger on the pulse and his hand on his heart. Inspired by the reggae night in Scotland founded by his parents in the late seventies, during a time of racial discrimination and social division, Daley brought the joy and expression originally found in these spaces to Swiss Church in Soho.
Music has long informed Daley's practice and shaped his brand. This season saw an all-inclusive musical presentation complete with DJ set, drums, guitar and spoken word. The concert presentation has worked for Daley before; for A/W 18 his models were jazz musicians. This time, the designer commented on contemporary Britain’s connection to sound as a direct result of the Windrush generation bringing music from the Caribbean. Daley's performers were all friends, conveying the importance he places on community.
As host, musician and broadcaster Nabihah Iqbal wore a bright red jaquard suit accessorised with badges and topped with a top-hat. A look that could easily have slipped into ringmaster territory, paired with the easy manner of Iqbal herself and the intimate setting around her, the effect was instead charming. Vests, hats and bags in traditional Jamaican crochet slipped easily into the collection, amidst tailoring inspired by military and hunting shapes. Effortlessly intermingling cultural references is Daley's forte; a traditional African dashiki suit in deep aubergine was layered over orange crochet. Musician Cosmo Pyke showed off Daley's half-Jamaican, Half-Scottish roots in a pleated kilt and 'Reggae Klub' t-shirt.
In recreating the original t-shirt from the 'Reggae Klub' night, Daley directly brought the iconography of this seminal, yet personal period to his brand. Speaking to his mother, Maureen, at the presentation, it was clear how moved she was by this choice. 'It's incredible people still think it's cool!' she exclaimed. It's not so surprising to me. Daley's infallible cool rubs off on his clothes. The key thing is that his cool is by no means removed; like this show, it's intimate, sentimental and exuberant.