“Everyone who feels out of the box moves to New York City,” Daniel says. But, “there isn’t a love for fantasy in fashion there. Whereas, in Paris, there is a history of celebrating the artistic and creative.” And so the tiresome quest to fit in among the innovative endures, no matter the place. From SLU’s point of view, the ones that push and question the boundaries rule, especially when they raise the bar of taste like Daniel and Steven do with their handcrafted, traditional-meets-unpredictable menswear designs. America may be overly concerned with what’s sellable, but we have been hunting for Duckie Brown’s spectacular pompom hat – that has the stylish impact of the Buckingham Palace guards’ headgear – since we did this shoot and Jake Oliver wore it in his SLU feature.
Duckie is an English term of endearment that Daniel and Steven have been calling each other for fifteen years. How incredibly adorable is that? (Steven and Daniel, how do I get to be your best friend?) Neither Daniel nor Steven grew up in the United States and they attribute the overall European feel of their clothing collections to this. Daniel, who is originally from Toronto was cultivated in the North American glamorous and preppie culture of Jackie O, Steve McQueen, Ali McGraw and Marilyn Monroe. Steven is from North London, “that weird, eccentric little island,” he says, that is rooted in punk, the Victorian and Edwardian eras and Dickens. Together, their diverse sensibilities are what make their designs so originally authentic, both accessible and aspirational at the same time. This is personified by their woven take on the Wallabee and influence of women’s Chanel.
Steven, wearing three different classic tartans, a blazer, a cropped trouser and a button-down, with a wool bouclé coat and burgundy Doc Martens, passionately blends the quirky art student in him with the standard uniforms of his past. It’s hard to picture the banker that Steven was early in his career, at the Queens Yard Branch of Barclay’s bank, in a pinstripe suit and briefcase. Daniel, in the just right oversized herringbone tweed coat, jeans and the perfectly “fucked up” (torked) charcoal knit, defines a new and compelling standard for classicism. “It’s kind of hard to believe,” Daniel says, “Why would men be comfortable wearing an orange football jersey and not an orange dress shirt?… If it doesn’t tickle your fancy, why bother?”