His label, Denzilpatrick, is based in Peckham, south London, and turns out two collections per year. He works exclusively with deadstock fabrics, vintage garments and recycled materials such as leather, polyester and lace. He uses a company in Dartford, also in south London, that takes industrial waste leather and turns it into a pulp that can be purchased in sheets, meaning that it’s 96 percent recycled.
He admits that producing low volumes has meant that his price range sits higher than the brands on the high street, but that hasn’t affected orders, as the cashmere has sold out.
“For spring we pushed the idea to have a bit more fun with it by making cashmere briefs and they sold out, a store in Ibiza took an order,” said Gayle, who started his career on the cutting-room floors of Jonathan Saunders, Victoria Beckham, Phillip Lim, Kenzo under Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, and Felipe Oliveira Baptista.
Accessories is a smaller section of the brand that Gayle hopes to keep consistent while ready-to-wear grows. For jewelry, he has found a small community in Peru and Ecuador that carve tagua nuts and dip-dye them.
The business has been growing so quickly that, starting with the fall 2022 collection, Gayle will be stretching beyond his direct-to-consumer model and taking on his first stockist, which he declined to name as the deal isn’t done yet.
Previously, he sold directly via the Denzilpatrick site.
In an interview, he said he had always wanted to launch his own brand, “but I always had imposter syndrome. I just didn’t think these things were really there for my taking, having grown up in a regular working-class family,” said Gayle, who trained as a ballet dancer at the Urdang Academy in Covent Garden.
He named his label after his immigrant grandfathers, Denzil and Patrick, who moved to London from Jamaica and Ireland, respectively, because he didn’t want the narrative to be all about him.
“I wanted it to be slightly disconnected from me so that everyone could see there was a story beyond me, and it was about the clashing of these two cultures,” he said.
In the early stages of brainstorming what his brand could be, he started with questioning the fashion system’s way of working, and thought through how he wanted to focus on sustainability, reducing waste and sourcing smartly. At the same time, he wanted “a level of fantasy. I was once a queer 13-year-old, and I tap into all those feelings that are still present in me today.”
Gayle is adamant about producing just two collections per year, and does so with help from his art director husband, James Bosley, whom he met at a printing studio in Brixton while working with Jonathan Saunders.
He said his designs are about finding the missing puzzle pieces in a man’s wardrobe and his end goal is to create a Denzilpatrick uniform.
“It’s about the focus and the edit. There are things that we’re constantly developing that we started in the first season which we’ve only gotten right by the third season,” he said, adding that getting tailoring right has been a highlight for him.
Even though Gayle’s heart — and business — are in London, he has presented his last two collections in Paris, and will continue to show in France, which he believes is still the best platform to promote his brand.