One of the UK’s most exciting young fashion designers, who has collaborated with Fred Perry and Adidas, has unveiled his exhibition at V&A Dundee.
Nicholas Daley’s exhibition, Studio Nicholas Daley, offers a glimpse into the world of the Tottenham-based menswear designer.
The exhibition, which opened last week, features garments from his collections, patterns, mood boards and photographs dating back to the 1970s when his parents, Maureen and Jeffery, ran The Reggae Klub, one of the first reggae club nights in Scotland.
For Daley, the exhibition is rooted in his Jamaican-Scottish identity and it’s been essential, for him, that this is reflected in his work.
He said: “My parents met in Dundee in a club called The Barracuda, which is now demolished, but they had reggae club nights here, in Edinburgh and in Glasgow.
“They supported a lot of roots reggae bands such as Misty in Roots and Musical Youth so music, in general, has had such a significant influence.
“That’s the reason why the original Reggae Klub t-shirt is framed and front and centre in this exhibition as this was such an important part of our family’s history. But it’s also important to tell the story for everyone else who wants to know about that particular time.
“I’m very proud of what my parents did because they didn’t do it for financial gain; it was all about doing something for the community and allowing for a space for that type of music, or that type of demographic, to come together. That’s what I try and do in my fashion shows.
“I think the best way to describe this exhibition is a celebration of my family’s heritage and history, as well as Scottish manufacturing.”
His Juteopolis Spring/Summer 2017 collection involved a collaboration with the city’s historic fabric mill, Halley Stevensons, and was inspired by the generations of strong women in his family who worked in jute mills in the city.
“It’s a celebration of manufacturing, culture, personal family history and, hopefully, when you mix it all together it says something quite strong, which allows people to also connect with,” he added.
Big thank you to all the contributors and collaborators who are featured in the exhibition. My ethos has always been to support and exchange ideas with other creatives who I truly respect and admire. Love to all! 🙏🏾
— Nicholas Daley (@nicholas_daley_) September 8, 2019
The exhibition has taken nearly a year to come to life, with curator Mhairi Maxwell fine-tuning the details over a number of months.
“When I met him and his mum during our opening celebrations, it all fell into place that there was something more to work together on,” she said.
“I’m so pleased it’s here in Dundee. I think it makes a lot of sense given his connection to Dundee as a city.
“That story he likes to tell through his clothes is really crucial to this show.
“He starts every collection with a mood board and if you go to his studio in London, he has collage everywhere. We really wanted to capture that and bring it to Dundee.
“It’s been a challenge curatorially – but I like a challenge.
“It’s been a genuine collaboration and that’s been an absolute joy.”