Fashion designer Nicholas Daley talks about his new Mulberry collection and his Scottish heritage


Following the Studio Nicholas Daley show at V&A Dundee, the London-based fashion designer, who founded his menswear label in 2015, has worked with accessories brand Mulberry.

The new limited capsule collection Mulberry x Nicholas Daley is one of the collaborations of Mulberry Editions on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of this brand and has been inspired by the music of the sixties and seventies.

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It includes Daley’s cool, retro reinterpretation of Mulberry’s classic Antony bag, ranging in size from a mini for your phone to a giant oversized number that would work for a mini break. There are also bucket hats and patchwork hats, and music-inspired accessories like a plectrum bag, saxophone and guitar straps.

Small Antony £1095

Tactile details include whip knit, braid and fringe, along with a palette of oak, navy and ochre.

To accompany the capsule, they also created a movie, available to view on Mulberry’s website, which features a specially written composition by Sons of Kemet frontman Shabaka Hutchings, voiced by Lianne La Havas, and appearances by those involved in the film. talent development charity, The Warriors of Tomorrow.

We asked the designer a few questions, below.

Does your Scottish heritage influence your design?

Mini Antony with Fringes €695

I have a Scottish mother and a Jamaican father, and I often refer to my dual heritage when I design. I am constantly exploring and unraveling different strands of my identity in a way that feels totally honest and authentic. Whether developing tartan wool in Selkirk, knitwear in Hawick or waxed cottons in Dundee, it is always important to support Scottish craftsmanship and manufacturing in my collections. It was a privilege to hold my first exhibition at the V&A Dundee in 2019-2020. It is important to inspire the next generation of creative thinkers within the Scottish diaspora.

How did the Mulberry collaboration come about?

When the project was introduced, I was very excited to be working with Mulberry, which is such a storied leather goods house, especially in their birthday year. I also thought it was really interesting that they were not only looking to work with me, but also with other members of London’s growing brand community. It has been amazing to collaborate on a campaign that celebrates my core values ​​of community, craft, and culture.

Which piece are you happiest with?

Nicholas Daley

My favorite would probably be the oversized Antony. It’s a bag you can travel the world with and celebrates all the design aspects of the collection. We also include many additional features, including pocket details that make it a bag for life. I am looking forward to wearing mine and seeing how it ages beautifully over time.

Was there a technical problem?

It was really exciting to develop craft styles with the Mulberry team that they had never worked on before. For example, it was the first time they had created a strap for a guitar or saxophone, but they were very open and understanding when it came to bringing new ideas to life. The entire process was rigorous, but the level of craftsmanship exceeded my expectations. The different colors in the collection help capture mood and inspiration. These include a patchwork of earth tones – a creative, eclectic and vibrant mix. I referenced color palettes and tones from the Miles Davis Bitches Brew album cover, which is one of my favorite LPs.

How important is sustainability?

Oversized Antony £1795

I really admire Mulberry’s support of British craftsmanship, as well as his stance on sustainability. There is definitely a strong sense of alignment between us on these issues. Mulberry still manufactures a high percentage of leather goods at its Somerset factory and sources high quality leathers from its selected tanneries. The cotton materials worked within the range use a percentage of eco-cotton fibers. We made a conscious effort to work with sustainable materials and fabrics.

Was it important for bags and accessories to be utilitarian as well as aesthetically pleasing?

During the design process, I was conscious of creating a collection with musicians in mind, interpreting the task at hand as problem solving. I would keep asking myself, how could I create this garment or accessory that complements and uplifts the musician but also has the freedom and movement for these guys to do what they do best? The collection is made to be used by people who know how to appreciate and take advantage of every detail, both from an aesthetic and functional point of view.

Do you hope to create more unisex designs or venture into women’s fashion?

Yes, I would love to continue working on designs that cross all genders and generations. This collaboration has been great as I hope it brings my story and design aesthetic to a much broader demographic. The Antony bag is a great style within the Mulberry archive that is fluid, so it appeals to me and women. This was the key reason for working on this style and I feel like it works on multiple levels of design.

Are accessories and bags usually part of your skills and what do you have to think about when designing them?

Accessories have been an important part of my brand’s DNA in recent collections. I have mainly worked with hand knit and crochet styles that have become iconic elements of the brand. Collaborating with Mulberry has been a huge eye-opener when it comes to learning more about how to approach accessories, especially leather and suede bags that will be both functional and timeless that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Are the musicians of the past and present your muses?

I created this range keeping in mind the musicians and talents I have worked with. It’s almost like she’s creating a wardrobe of accessories for them to wear on stage. I also drew a lot of inspiration from people I’ve always admired, both sonically and stylistically: Miles Davis, Roy Ayers, Jimmy Hendrix, Prince, and Bob Dylan, to name a few.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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