A Deck Made Up Of Queens: Interview With Daisy Knatchbull, Part I

How a Savile Row alumnus is taking women’s suiting in the right direction.

The Deck is the pack leader the women’s suiting industry has been calling for, focussing on a unique made-to-measure women’s suiting range. Catering for a growing demand for more sustainable wardrobe solutions, founder Daisy Knatchbull has been delivering exceptional styles since 2019.

The suits not only adhere to the phrase “look good to feel good” – it’s about lifting women’s tenacity and confidence – but also elevate client experiences by creating pieces that define an individual’s story. Further to building a narrative made of fine fabrics, the attention to detail is met with a keen eye from the in-house tailors who ensure the perfect fit is heightened by developing designs that are created to compliment the eclectic variety of women’s figures.

There is something that sparks inspiration when feeling empowered, and The Deck is a change-maker in a society that sees women increasingly finding themselves in positions of opportunity and positive transformation. So what’s The Deck’s founder Daisy Knatchbull’s take on female empowerment, her evolving ideologies, the effects of the global pandemic and why tailoring is fast becoming a sustainable preference for fast fashion consumers?

Savile Row and London tailoring generally is obviously a male dominated realm – what has reaction in the market been to you and your efforts?
There’s a saying – “founder’s luck” – and I’ve been really lucky in the sense that there’s never been a better time to be a woman. From working in a place, Savile Row, with such heritage and history, it opened my eyes to this major gap that was appearing for women. I think the timing of the rise of female empowerment, the ‘me too’ movement – there was this wave we experienced and a real change about who we are as women and the way we talk about things, whether that be sexual abuse, the gender pay gap or whatever.

That was really on the rise at the time I was starting out, as well as the fact that suiting was coming back for women – not as a trend but as something here to stay. Suits as wardrobe staples were becoming an essential part of a woman’s style. Good fitting clothes, tailored pieces, capsule wardrobes that are small but mighty… We always say the suits aren’t just a statement – they’re a state of mind, and when you wear one that empowering confidence it gives you makes you stand taller and feel as though you can accomplish anything.

Are you also involved in philanthropic ventures?
I have causes I support. Bearing in mind we only launched this business a year and a half ago, the philanthropic element of is going to be massive for us and it’s definitely coming up. But really so far, the focus has been on getting our feet up off the ground. However, our business carries a heavily sustainable element, as we don’t order bulk volumes of cloth. We don’t have inventory – we order down to the closest centimetre for each client.

We also work only with natural fibres. We’re promoting small capsule wardrobes with versatile garments that will be passed down for generations, so in that sense from a sustainability angle, we’re pretty sturdy. And then we look at the diversity angle. Every woman, every age, every race – our brand isn’t for a particular type of woman, it’s for every woman regardless. Of course, there’s a certain price point but we’re looking to find solutions to make it more affordable through instalment payments.

Diversity has always been key from the start – we’ve always looked to work with women of colour. There’s definitely more that everyone can do, however I think we’ve made a really good start and we look forward to continuing to develop that as we move forward.

Finally, something that we’re looking to work on is young women from disadvantaged backgrounds who are trying to start their own businesses – we’re hoping to start mentorship programmes and providing workwear to women who otherwise could not afford certain outfits for interviews and so on.

Has the pandemic shifted your direction?
The scary thing about a global pandemic is that you can’t ask anyone else in the industry, “What did you do during your first pandemic?”. Even now being part of it, and looking towards the future, there’s a lot of variables outside of our control such as a secondary lock-down, loss of consumer confidence – it’s an uncertain time for a founder business, or anyone for that matter.

However, the fantastic thing about this is, collectively we all went through it together. We used the pandemic as an opportunity to harness what we know, and really consolidate as a team despite working remotely. It worked very well for us as we’re a small team. We really looked at the future of luxury – it’s exciting to see this idea of the fashion world potentially really changing in a way that it has never experienced before.

So how has the pandemic changed the fashion scene?
What we’re seeing now is people are becoming more conscious consumers and understanding that we have a serious impact on the planet – it’s something that really came through during this time. I hope that people will actually think about their purchases: they want good quality and are willing to invest as such because they believe in it and they see the impact it has on the planet, on fair work conditions.

For us, people are turning towards a more conscious way of consuming and a more thoughtful “slow-mo” approach to fashion. And that’s really exciting, as it’s something that we’ve been pushing from the start. Now, people have the time to go through their wardrobes and are realising that they’re only requiring key staple pieces. It’s amazing to realise you can actually survive on very little and be okay with it.

You never really have time to stop and think about where you’re at, where you need to go. To have such silence and such stillness was a real blessing and allowed me to really do a lot of blue sky thinking and look completely at the bigger picture.

Asking “What does the future hold?” I realised there would be a lot more working from home, and I’m lucky that I make for a lot of amazing corporate women, though I’m not making solely for office occasions. I’m taking styles in from day to night, so it doesn’t really affect me that women won’t be working in offices because a lot of the women want something that they can go and pick their kids up from school in, they can go and have a girls’ lunch in and then have a coffee with a friend and then go to a black tie event in the evening, all whilst wearing the exact same suit with various different accessorising elements to compliment and change the aesthetic to match through their day.

What we’ve really realised is that travel is changing, the landscape is changing, so for us the move towards doing what we do without face-to-face interaction is something we’re looking to in the future to serve a global audience. Which is our end goal – suiting as many incredible women around the globe as possible.

 

Read More On To Part II Here

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