May | Spotlight On
Meet Steven Stokey Daley, the menswear designer creating sell-out pieces
Steven Stokey Daley on dressing Harry Styles and breathing new life into deadstock fabricEmma Sells
Steven Stokey Daley is nothing if not resilient. The Liverpool-based designer only graduated last summer, in the midst of the pandemic, and has already managed to build a much-adored menswear label – and an adoring following – despite the chaos. His reach went global in October when – no big deal – stylist Harry Lambert, now a friend and mentor, dressed Harry Styles in a white shirt and wide-legged trousers from Daley’s graduate collection for the music video of ‘Golden’. Daley and his team had a week’s notice before the video’s release – just long enough to set up a pre-order system on his website that promptly sold out in minutes.
It’s easy to see why Daley’s clothes were a no-brainer on a Styles-centric mood board. The designer conjures irresistibly romantic, billowy pieces, all vintage floral prints mixed with heritage checks, that riff on the rarefied worlds of public school and Oxbridge and the beautiful, foppish youths that populate them. British theatre, literature and drama are constant touchstones, too.
"Because building a responsible brand is about the people as much as the planet, he’s doing his bit to bring industry back to the north"
Steven Stokey Daley
The fact that his clothes are also sustainable, whipped up from deadstock fabric and vintage finds from tablecloths to curtains, is a happy accident. When he was in his final year at The University of Westminster, Sarah Burton donated rolls of beautiful deadstock fabric from the Alexander McQueen studios for his class to make use of. It was a lightbulb moment for Daley: not only did it give him a chance to use the kind of luxury fabrics that he simply couldn’t afford, but it also opened his eyes to the vast amount of waste discarded by labels and their studios. It’s now become an integral part of the label and, because building a responsible brand is about the people as much as the planet, he’s doing his bit to bring industry back to the north, too, enlisting the help of a tenacious band of local women to set up a production unit in Liverpool, where his clothes will be made and where he hopes to reignite a passion in people for sewing and craft.
Artwork: Guss & Stella