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

The proprietor of The Deck on how a London tailoring enterprise can operate with one eye on the future.

Your key values steer toward the human interaction but social media as a marketing tool runs in the mix…
You’d be surprised how many suits we sell through Instagram. We have a small but mighty following, and we’re rapidly growing a really engaged audience. Social media is so important for us – it’s provided a lens into our everyday in-store operations – including telling the stories behind the fabrics used, or educating others on how to understand female form in fashion. It’s an extension of us and an insight into The Deck world and all that’s behind our craft – including the makers, the people and personalities that work with us.

Might you expand into unisex or a men’s range as well?
Not for now. And not for any other reason than there are a lot of amazing places that make for both men and women – however, there aren’t even a handful of places that make exclusively for women at the level that we’re making. I think women deserve an outlet for themselves for the time being.

Do you think the world of tailoring will always have its place?
It’s tricky, as online grows, and when we have a global pandemic one can really reap the benefits of online storefronts. But I think that there’s something incredibly special about keeping craftmanship alive and there will always be a place for that. I believe it will only increase now as we start to see the affects fashion has on our planet and how the old way is the way forward.

When I look at the clothes my grandmother wore, which I wear today, the quality of the clothes is unparalleled. We’ve lost that element of quality. This culture of acquiring things right now can become overwhelming in the online shopping experience. Most people are dissatisfied with online shopping, but we do it out of ease. I think the pandemic has sped up the rise of craft and quality and holding those values at the top of your reasons for why you shop.

Also important is understanding that, as much as clothes come cheap and fast, there are still children working in factories behind those clothes in some cases. There’s damage to water sources and land being tarnished because of cheap, fast and “convenient consumer tastes. I look towards a future where it simply goes out of fashion and brands will be called out and held accountable for their choices. We have to change the way we shop, otherwise we’ll be met with a depressing reality.

What styles do you most enjoy creating for your clients?
I think the cool thing about my work is getting up every day and getting to meet another amazing woman who has a personality and is looking for a way to express themselves. A suit is kind of an extension of that – it’s something to accompany you through life’s adventures and the different expressions of it are amazing.

We’ve seen some wild stuff, and then we’ve seen some elegant, understated stuff. There’s been so many velvet, tweed, flannel, tartan, corduroy and linen suits. There are so many inspirations, and no two suits are the same – because of the personalisation and the bespoke capabilities you’re consistently seeing a different style. That’s the exciting part of my job – clients coming with a design who are then aided by us to fabricate that vision. It’s a fun journey watching it come to life. And at the end, there’s often people looking at themselves and really falling in love with their bodies and how they look again.

Any advice for young entrepreneurs that are looking to move into this field?
Get in touch [laughs]! I’m very lucky that quite a few people have come to me and asked me to help them. I was very lucky to have people very willing to help me and have discussions with me. I’m still learning, I’m still asking people to go for coffees and answer some questions. I was on a podcast the other day where the topical theme was around not being afraid – and it resonates. Don’t be afraid to reach out to anyone. Anyone that you admire or inspires you – even dropping them an Instagram message, you’d be so surprised how many people respond.

It’s the most flattering thing to be asked for advice and it is very rare you’ll find someone that won’t be happy to have a quick 15-minute conversation over the phone and impart some of their own wisdom. The amazing thing about globalisation is we’re able to reach anyone, really, if we set our minds to it. Reach out to those that inspire you – we’re all on the same journey.

If you do want to quit your job and start a business, really refine your idea – run it by people and gauge their feedback. And most importantly, believe in yourself. It’s crucial to have the confidence to want to start your own business, because it is a scary thing and it takes a certain kind of person who can self-motivate and who can put the time in. It’s a tough journey. There’s a lot of information out there about the journey and the kind of person it takes – if it rings true, don’t let anything stop you. Set your mind to it and take the jump.

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