LONDON — Daniel Fletcher is among a handful of designers who can say the pandemic has had a positive impact on their business.
Following his appearance on the Netflix reality show “Next in Fashion,” which has helped the designer amass a sizable online following since January, Fletcher has decided to go forward with a direct-to-consumer and see-now-buy-now business model for his 357,000 followers on Instagram.
Sometimes, he said, a single Instagram post can lead to 50 orders. Other times a post won’t generate any sales at all, but there has still been enough success to make a bigger push for business.
“Before, I would struggle to sell a T-shirt. People would want the fashion pieces. But now, we can’t keep the T-shirts in stock, they just fly out,” Fletcher said. But fashion pieces are getting more traction now, too, as shoppers who came to buy a T-shirt after watching the show, have grown into fashion customers.
Fletcher’s new collection, inspired by the enigmatic allure of musicians like The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger, will be released in two drops: one on Thursday, and one in January. The first rollout consists of pieces for the holiday season, like bow-tie shirts, tuxedos, and accessories. The January drop will feature lighter styles, like silk shirts and shorts that will lead up to spring.
“I love going to live music and I think the first gig I ever went to was The Rolling Stones with my dad when I was 11 and so, I called this collection Paint It Black after one of their songs,” said Fletcher. “I kind of see the wardrobe as being kind of trans-seasonal, because I don’t want someone to buy something from this collection and just wear it for a few months. I really hope that these pieces go out into the world and stay in people’s wardrobes for a very long time and then they get passed out to children or friends.”
Fletcher also approached the pieces with a conscious mind, as he has starting from his design school days. Some of the items from the new collection are made of deadstock, and some are turned from scraps and patterns.
“Not having the suppliers and not working the way that we used to before, that’s really forced me to look at how we could use all of those patchworks and tiny little scraps from previous collections or stitch together to make all those quilts which we’re going to put online. Then there’s also kind of my signature pieces, the tailored shorts, and the trousers and overshirts,” he said.
Fletcher also recruited a small army of seamstresses who were furloughed by British factories, to make the pieces from home.
Due to the upcycled nature of certain pieces, some are only available in limited numbers.
“I think it is a much more sustainable approach to design rather than making tons of products and just hoping that people buy them,” he said. “Even if I sell fewer clothes, I think it’s better. We’re not going to have a planet to pass on if we carry on what we’re doing.”