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The boundary-breaking designer on falling in love with fashion and his collaboration with Courvoisier.

After returning to London Fashion Week with his 1970s inspired AW22 collection, Daniel w. Fletcher knows how to make a splash with his work, and his collaboration with heritage cognac brand Courvoisier is no exception. Having hinted at the project during his fall show, the end result was well worth the wait: a perfect coming together of fashion and drink, Daniel w. Fletcher bridges the gap between the two worlds flawlessly. 

Inspired by the pursuit of joie de vivre, especially after suffering losses in his personal life, Daniel w. Fletcher and Courvoisier created a limited-edition series of hand-painted and numbered VSOP bottles, as well as a covetable capsule ready-to-wear collection, celebrating living life to the fullest. “I believe that joy”, Daniel w. Fletcher explains, “is best expressed through whatever medium you feel the most passionate about – for me, this is design, and the art of painting.”

We caught up with the vibrant designer to find out about his artistic journey so far, what this collaboration means to the brand, and what’s coming up next for Daniel w. Fletcher…

​​Do you remember the moment you fell in love with fashion and art?

I can’t pinpoint a specific moment because it was always there for me – whilst all the other kids were playing chase and football, I was using my imagination to sketch and curate exhibitions, which would feature in my Wendy house. Sometimes I would round up all my friends and direct a show which they would all have to participate in; I’d create looks for each of them from the dressing up box and old clothes destined for the charity shop. Fashion and art is something that feels completely natural to me, and I can’t imagine my life without it.

What does the collaboration with Courvoisier mean to you?

One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about the collaboration with Courvoisier is being able to use my creativity to work on something outside of clothing. From designing the limited-edition bottle and apparel collection, to more recently helping bring to life the Atelier Courvoisier and the signature cocktails; each element has been so different and has challenged my creativity and innovation in the best way.

Where did you draw inspiration and influence from for this project?

Courvoisier’s ethos stems from a desire to inhabit every moment with a sense of joy or as per their traditional French heritage, joie de vivre; when drawing inspiration for the project, I knew it had to communicate this. When I’m not working on a collection and have some time off, I really enjoy painting, as it’s a real stress reliever for me and something that brings me happiness. I therefore decided that brushstrokes should flow freely across each piece featured in this collection, from the bottle to the apparel, to ensure the products communicated Courvoisier’s joyful philosophy.

What are your favourite ways to get inspired?

A good day at the museums always does it for me!

Tell us a bit about the process of designing this ready-to-wear capsule collection? How did it differ from your usual design process?

With my usual collections, the process is quite long and often developed over several months, as I try to tell a story with it. This capsule collection was much more focussed around one specific subject matter, which was a painting I’d done at the start of the project featuring playful brush strokes to emulate Courvoisier’s ethos. With it being such a tight collection, I wanted it to make a big splash with this release, and also represent both my brand and Courvoisier with our shared values of joy and bringing people together.

What do you hope people take away from this project?

Most of all, I hope it brings people joy, inspires them to be creative, and, in particular with the Courvoisier Atelier, that it brings people together. On Saturday 28th to Sunday 29th May, I will be hosting jacket painting and screen-printing workshops at Atelier Courvoisier, a new destination for cocktails and workshops in Soho, which will encourage attendees to discover their creative side and just have fun with fashion and art.

Tell us a bit about your upbringing, were you surrounded by creativity growing up?

My grandmother was a driving force behind my creativity; she was an art teacher and a brilliant painter, and it was her who taught me. I lost her a couple of weeks before the collection was released but she’d been so interested in what I was doing (and pleased to see I was painting, something I don’t get to do a lot of now) so I’d like to dedicate this collaboration to her.

You grew up in the Northwest of England, and later moved to London to study, how was this experience for you?

I feel lucky to have had such a supportive upbringing with parents that encouraged me to do what I wanted. I’m grateful that they allowed me to move to London to follow my dreams despite coming from a background where I knew nothing about the fashion industry and had never even met a designer until I was in my 20s and already living in London!

People often talk of the North/South divide in terms of creative opportunity and community, how do you feel about this perception and what do you think needs to change to lessen the gap?

I grew up in Chester which is between Manchester and Liverpool and both of these cities have thriving creative scenes which I think are often overshadowed by London, but for me growing up, my trips to Afleks Palace as a teenager and Liverpool’s Matthew Street festival as a kid with my parents were really influential. As part of Atelier Courvoisier, we will be donating proceeds from the workshop tickets to the University of the Arts London’s Creative Future Fund, which supports disadvantaged students with bursaries to study at one of UAL’s six Colleges, a cause close to my heart as Central Saint Martins’ alumni – hopefully this will aid some creatives in being able to fulfil their dreams like I did.

How do you feel your art has evolved over the years you’ve been working?

There was a definite moment a couple of years into having my brand, when I started to feel more comfortable with who I was and secure in what I was doing; I stopped worrying about what I thought I should be doing and just did what I wanted to, and the collections got better as a result.

Where do you see it evolving to next?

Hopefully better again? I try not to have too many expectations, just ambitions.

How do you feel the fashion industry has changed over the years?

I think people are taking sustainability much more seriously now which is a positive thing, I think in some ways it’s slowed down a bit too which is also refreshing. I feel like when I started out, we were in a bit of a snowball and people and brands were making and consuming so much – but I’ve seen a much needed shift in the last couple of years where people are taking a more considered approach to fashion.

What changes would you like to see made in the future?

Hopefully this more considered approach will continue, and consumers will be more conscious of what they are buying, and brands will do the same. We are at a point with our planet where we don’t have a choice so now is really the time to take action.

What’s next for you?

In the immediate future, I’m very excited to be, alongside Courvoisier, launching Courvoisier Atelier by Daniel w. Fletcher. It’s a beautiful new pop-up space in Soho open from Friday 27th – Sunday 29th May, and attendees can expect design workshops – including screen-printing and jacket painting workshops hosted by yours truly –  Courvoisier tasting sessions and cocktail masterclasses; plus, a stunning bar open in the evenings serving a bespoke menu of cocktails!

To shop Courvoisier Atelier by Daniel W. Fletcher, click here.

Words by Kitty Robson

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