In 2020, the ultimate fashion influencer isn’t a Kardashian, or a supermodel. In fact, it isn’t even a woman. It’s 26-year-old pop star Harry Styles, whose high rotation of fashion-forward ensembles and softboy stylings have captivated the world. A nod from Harry has the power to make an emerging label, catapulting it onto the world stage: which is the exact fashion fairytale that happened to SS Daley, the British menswear label.
Styles opted for multiple pieces by the brand, designed by Liverpool-based Steven Stokely Daley, in the new (internet-breaking) music video for his song ‘Golden,’ including the truly fabulous floral headpiece he wore in promo shots for the clip. It’s impressive, seeing as Styles’ personal stylist Harry Lambert also pulled pieces from Gucci and Bode, that SS Daley’s creations were the undeniable breakout stars of the video. The wide-legged linen trousers, silk pajama set and that white billowing shirt are all Daley’s.
The story of SS Daley’s sudden ascent is all the more remarkable when you consider that Daley only recently graduated from university. Many of the pieces featured in Golden originate from Daley’s University of Westminster graduate collection, which he forwarded on to Lambert, Styles long-time stylist, on a whim. Speaking to Vogue, Daley revealed that Lambert then struck up a correspondence, and eventually called in some pieces which might end up in a new Harry Styles video. He had no idea that the shoot would be literally littered with his designs. “My mouth was literally ajar the whole time,” he said.
Daley, who originally intended to study theater or literature, references literature heavily in his collections—the white shirt Styles wore throughout the video, for example, was a nod to Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited. He also has a passion for sustainability. He garnered the attention of the fashion world earlier this year, when he created a collection using archival materials from Alexander McQueen, where he had briefly worked on the design team. Those trousers Harry wears (with the unmistakable yellow drawstring hat), are upcycled from vintage curtains.
With the world’s spotlight suddenly focused on him, Daley will no doubt face the pressure that comes with rapidly expanding a small-scale fashion business. Golden racked up 25 million views in a number of days, and every piece on SS Daley’s website has already sold out. Having said that, it sounds like financial success isn’t a major motivator for the young designer, who still splits his time between Liverpool and London. “The pace of fashion really does destroy fashion, I think, honestly,” he said. “So I’m just going to work on my own time.” Touche.