How the sound and style of '70s jazz inspire designer Nicholas Daley



“Looking for the right jacket or detail is like digging for vinyl.”

Nicholas Daley’s parents were among the first people to open a reggae club in Edinburgh in the ’70s. Drawing on both his Scottish and Jamaican heritage, you’re just as likely to find tweed or tartan samples tagged to the wall of the London-based menswear designer’s studio as you are to find reggae in his record collection.

It was tweed though, and its sartorial connection to jazz, which inspired Daley’s recent collection, Red Clay. Looking to the early ’70s jazz fusion era – when Miles Davis was rewriting history with Bitches Brew, and wearing bespoke tweed suits while he did it – Daley crafted a collection that finds a balance between past and present.

Unveiled with a performance by a dream team of UK jazz musicians, including Shabaka Hutchings, Yussef Dayes, Mansur Brown and Alfa Mist (and featuring poet James Massiah and DJs Nabihah Iqbal and Judah Afriyie who were also part of the show schedule) – Red Clay has helped establish the designer in a context that moves seamlessly between disciplines. We visited him in his North London studio, before dropping into Zen Records nearby, to find out more about where he’s come from and where he’s going next.

Nicholas Daley will be presenting his Spring/Summer 19 SLYGO collection during London Fashion Week on Monday, 11th of June. The presentation will be live-streamed on Instagram and Facebook at 13:30 to 15:30.

Find out more about his work here and check out a few photos from the studio below.

Extra footage: Victor Frankowski