Menswear designer Nicholas Daley is the next in a growing line of the London fashion scene's brightest names to take up space at NOW Gallery. Daley joins his peers Molly Goddard, Charles Jeffrey, Richard Malone and Mowalola, who have all held immersive fashion exhibitions in the gallery which is situated at the Greenwich Peninsula, a stones throw away from the o2 and Ravensbourne University. Return To Slygo will run from 18 May - 14 July 2021.
The exhibition will immerse visitors into Daley's world, both personal and creative, with his Jamaican-Scottish background having long informed his design output. Since launching his brand in 2015 with his S/S 16 collection Culture Clash, Daley has often referred to himself as someone who is interested in history, rather than being a designer, something he recently spoke about in a video interview with SHOWstudio. His work explores his own Jamaican-Scottish heritage, and cultural moments, whether that be a piece of music or martial arts. Rooted in music, family and craftsmanship, Daley's fashion shows often feature live performances, working with a different artist each season to create a bespoke soundtrack for the collection, and Nabihah Iqbal has created a playlist to accompany the exhibition. Daley has also developed close relationships with his suppliers, producing custom woven fabrics and fine tailoring, with everything produced in the UK.
The exhibition will explore all of this, focusing on Daley's core brand values of community, culture and craftsmanship. Moodboards featuring Daley's plethora of inspirations, from family photographs to the reggae club his parents ran in Scotland in the late seventies and early eighties, will be on display. Illustrative vinyls and banners made in collaboration with the illustrator Gaurab Thakai will be hung round the seven metre, glass windowed space, transforming the gallery into an immersive, safe and welcoming hub, complete with a bespoke woven carpeted floor. This not only reflects Daley's brand values, but promises to create an appealing space as we exit lockdown and tentatively re-enter the real world.
Two films will showcase Daley's design techniques and personal life. A documentary style film by Joseph Dunn focuses on Daley's current knitwear designs, and craftsmanship throughout the generations, focusing on the Scottish knitters Daley collaborates with. The second by Akinola Davies Junior celebrates Daley's parents and how they have influenced his own practice, his connections to music, and music's connections to ancestry, culture and resistance looking at black British artists. The film features music by Sons of Kemet and Nubya Garcia, with a score by Dennis Bovell and poetry by Roger Robinson. There will also be a zine and tote bag available to buy, proceeds of which go to the charity Tomorrow's Warriors which helps aspiring young artists.
Jemima Burrill, curator at NOW Gallery, said in a statement: 'Nicholas Daley is giving us the exhibition we need right now. Return to Slygo celebrates community and diversity but also flags up the brilliance and importance of UK design and manufacture. Nicholas Daley brings music and art into the mix, when we need a shot of light hearted hedonism and an exploration of what is good in the world, at this time.'
Buy tickets here.