Where Steven Stokey-Daley breathes life into attire that melds the timeless charm of vintage with the refreshing allure of novelty, painting a vibrant picture of his S.S.DALEY’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection. As our journey through this wardrobe begins, it’s impossible not to catch the gleam of delight sparked by the appearance of an unexpected yet charming motif: the dachshund. In the heart of Islington, where these charming pets have been designated the ‘peak-pet fashion’ of our time, emerges an exquisite collection.
The dachshund sweaters of this collection don’t stand in isolation. They are an encore to S.S.DALEY‘s duck cardigans, a fashion microcosm that resonated across age and style lines, creating an impromptu fan base spanning the generational spectrum. This ode to Englishness and its eccentric charm continues to resonate with an eclectic mix of style enthusiasts – from the Chelsea Flower Show visitor to the girls in the local pub. The continued popularity of these avian-themed sweaters pays testament to the broad appeal of S.S.DALEY’s distinct aesthetic, something that fills Stokey-Daley with a pride that is palpable.
Stokey-Daley, despite his relatively recent arrival on the fashion scene, exhibits the wisdom of understanding his audience and his brand, emphasizing continuity and evolution over radical shifts. He aptly reflects upon his journey, his time at art school, and his experiences with identity formation as he matures, grounding his designs with a depth that surpasses superficial aesthetic considerations.
A sneak peek into the designer’s mind reveals a vision inspired by the queer culture of English high society, located in the idyllic setting of an artist’s house hosting a life-drawing session. He drew inspiration from the mid-20th-century artists, specifically a young Lucian Freud, painting in the comfort of his home. This narrative deepens the context of his collection and provides a fresh perspective on his creative journey.
Daley’s eye for detail and his commitment to maintaining authenticity can be seen in his meticulously tailored clothes, evoking a warm, lived-in quality. From the chevron patterned greenish striped linen jacket and matching shorts reminiscent of old public-school-uniforms, to the ivory jacket delicately edged with burgundy zigzag thread—each piece narrates a story. The handcrafted crochet shirts from Romania, the tablecloth-turned-shirts reminiscent of his Liverpool home, and the botanical prints influenced by fond memories with his grandmother in her garden, all further amplify the connection between his personal history and his design narrative.
Most importantly, his progressive approach to fashion is mirrored in his conscious choice of organic materials, reflecting his commitment to sustainability. The S.S.DALEY Spring/Summer 2024 collection also showcases the designer’s signature Oxford bags, paving the way for wide-legged style, setting a precedent that has echoed across men’s fashion runways recently.
The collection, with its intricate attention to detail, unique blend of personal narratives, and strong commitment to sustainable fashion, encapsulates a distinctive brand aesthetic. It’s an artful balance of style and substance that continues to influence and appeal to fashion enthusiasts across the spectrum—from traditionalists to the avant-garde, from granddads to indie-spirited grandchildren. The collection’s charm is underscored by the unexpected delight of sausage dogs and is poised to extend the label’s influence, not just within the high fashion strata but into the daily lives of its audience.
The offerings for the Spring/Summer 2024 season don’t only spell out the brand’s progression but also the evolution of the designer himself. Stokey-Daley’s exploration into new territories like Portuguese tile patterns and his enduring love for ceramics testify to his openness to diverse sources of inspiration. His pieces speak volumes of his roots while at the same time alluding to his far-reaching creative influences.
Subtly layered in these sartorial narratives are the nuanced impressions of his past, such as the beautiful botanical prints sourced from charity shop finds that invoke his tender memories of assisting his grandmother in her vibrant garden. These motifs, while appearing quaintly vintage, exude a refreshing touch that could only come from the imaginative mind of the designer. He shows us that while most of his pieces are no longer upcycled, the essence of resourcefulness and transformation—something intrinsic to the brand’s identity—still remains.
As we delve deeper into the collection, we cannot ignore the variety of materials used, from delicate crochet to robust cotton. Stokey-Daley shows he can take these fabrications and mould them into creations that are undeniably S.S.DALEY. His extreme Oxford bags stand testament to this talent, having shifted the paradigm of men’s fashion since their debut, and are now seen in a plethora of different fabrications.
With each new collection, S.S.DALEY continues to cement his reputation as a trailblazer, bridging gaps between style generations, pushing boundaries of materials and forms, and yet always staying true to his identity. It is the rare kind of label that can pioneer trends while appealing to a wide audience – from traditionalist granddads to fashion-forward grandchildren, offering everyone something to covet.
And perhaps that’s the most remarkable thing about S.S.DALEY’s Spring/Summer 2024 collection. Whether it’s the quaintly charming sausage dogs, the elegant tailoring, the vintage-inspired prints, or the bold Oxford bags, the collection underscores that fashion is a deeply personal, ever-evolving language, and Stokey-Daley is a fluent and captivating storyteller. Who else but S.S.DALEY can interweave whimsy and elegance, the new and the old, the experimental and the classic, into a collection that makes you smile, think, and most of all, aspire to own?
© Photos: S.S.DALEY
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