The Deck London is a made-to-measure tailoring house exclusively for women, by women – and a finalist in The Golden Shears 2021 Awards. Lawfully Chic talked to founder Daisy Knatchbull about why tailoring really matters, and how she does it so brilliantly.
LC: When did you start The Deck and what is it that you do, exactly?
DK: I have always had an interest in fashion, and from a young age worked within different roles in the industry, whether that was fashion journalism, styling or PR. I worked for the fashion director of The Sunday Times Style and was keen to make a mark on the world of womenswear but realised very quickly how saturated that market was. It was only upon moving into menswear at Huntsman (where I was Communications Director) that I was able to see a huge gap in the womenswear market through the lens of tailoring. In 2016, I became the first women to wear top hat and tails at Royal Ascot. It was the reaction of the women and the press that further cemented for me the that the beauty and elegance of all things sartorial was woefully unavailable to women (in the same way it was for men), and so I decided that I would take the risk and try to make a difference. It has never been a better time to be a woman opening a tailoring house exclusively for women on Savile Row amongst the macro trend of female suiting and rise of female empowerment.
With specialist knowledge of the female form, we are dedicated to offering unrivalled service and attention to detail, ensuring women are never underserved in the tailoring world again. As with a deck of cards, we offer four signature silhouettes as a starting point: The Single-Breasted, The Double-Breasted, The Boyfriend and The Safari, accompanied by a choice of either Straight-Leg, Wide-Leg, Flared or Cigarette Trousers. However, we also offer skirts, waistcoats, and shorts. Clients can interchange and personalise the styles to suit their needs. The opportunities are endless, the only limit is your imagination.
Our personalised and private fittings can take place in our Savile Row atelier, the comfort of your own home or a location of your choice. Our ethos lies in the belief that no two women are the same and our made-to-measure offering embraces that, providing beautifully tailored pieces created in three fittings over 12 weeks.
LC: What are your beliefs and principles around sustainability and ethical fashion, and how does that show up in your working methods?
DK: Sustainability and mindful purchasing is an intrinsic part of The Deck philosophy. We value the considered, not the impulse purchase. By producing only on a made-to-order basis, each piece is made just for you, only when you decide you need it. With no inventory or bulk order fabrics, we can eliminate waste from our business, counteracting the devastating scale of overproduction that is currently going on in the fashion industry, the majority of which ends up in landfill.
We work with highly skilled artisans and craftsmen, helping to keep long traditions, techniques, and cultures alive. Alongside this, we are committed to using responsible materials and natural fibres such as wool, linen, and organic cotton, which are all naturally biodegradable. We also offer buttons made from milk and linings made from wood pulp.
As investment pieces that are multi-seasonal, durable and versatile, we are confident that The Deck suits will stand the test of time in our clients’ wardrobes, and we hope that they will be passed down generations to come. A small, versatile, and considered wardrobe can be mighty, particularly for the planet. Should anything need repairing we will of course do this free of charge. We believe that today, a brand is not only about the product and the experience – but the ethos and belief system that underpins that.
LC: Why tailoring? What do you want to tell female fashionistas about this way of shopping?
DK: One client once told me there is nothing better than the feeling of the silk lining brushing against your arms as you put on a suit that is made for you. And the truth is, there isn’t. Like many great things, once you’ve had a taste of it you can’t stop. Women have spent far too long becoming accustomed to ill-fitting clothes and so I guess it makes that feeling even better. But it’s not just how it feels physically, but the way it affects one’s mental being that I love the most and why I set on a quest to provide this to as many women as I could. The unapologetic confidence it gives you, the projection of power and strength and independence, the way you stand taller, act bolder. That feeling is pretty addictive.
We love hearing from women around the world who want our advice and expert knowledge when investing in a suit. Understanding your body shape and what will highlight the area of your body you love the most is key. It’s always best to invest in something that is timeless and will take you from day to night. Something that is versatile with the rest of your wardrobe and ensures you can dress up or dress down. Investing in good quality cloth that will not only feel good but endure daily life over the years is so important. Remember, beautifully tailored suits will never merely be a trend – they will last you for life.
LC: Anything else you’d like to share about your journey towards creating The Deck and the challenges you currently face?
DK: Starting your own business, particularly without a co-founder can be an incredibly lonely experience and a side that isn’t talked about enough. It can definitely come as a surprise when you realise it’s not always as glamorous as it’s made out to be. Being a small start-up business and facing both the pandemic and Brexit has provided its challenges as well. As much as the last year has been difficult, it has also provided opportunity. As a founder, you rarely get a chance to stop and take an oblique view of your business and do some ‘blue sky thinking’. I have finally had the time to review, consolidate and reform our business as well as map out our plan to grow and scale in light of the last year. The pandemic has seen the advent of ‘virtual consultations’ for us, which have been challenging at times but also opened us up to a global audience which is incredibly exciting. Thankfully, it has been a real success. The move to digital was always within our plan but COVID-19 has definitely accelerated that and we have lots of exciting things coming up online and in store. It is only thanks to our loyal clients, followers, and the press that we have been able to survive the three periods of shutdown.
LC: What do you think the fashion industry still needs to do in 2021 to tackle the issues it faces?
DK: I believe, if a brand can’t adhere to basic principles of sustainability, they will become their own downfall. People today value of course an A+ product, and the experience that comes with it. But it’s the ethos and the principles of the brand that are becoming more important to shoppers today, more than ever, when we come out of this global pandemic. The pandemic has also allowed women to spend time consolidating their wardrobes and understanding what they do and don’t wear. They want to buy less and buy better, invest in their wardrobe and the planet whilst also ensuring it will stand the test of time. 2021 brings a renewed sense of purpose and identity, and the beauty of what we do is it allows total freedom of expression through the way you dress.