What drew you to the collaboration with G.H. BASS?
I have done a lot of collaborations with traditional footwear companies. It is interesting to bring a contemporary edge, flair, or DNA to historical pieces of footwear. G.H.BASS started with the gold rush in America making the boots for the mining industry and from that; the loafer. It was the evolution of that style.
How important is the two-tone and second wave ska movement in influencing your designs.
I always wanted to do a collection that honoured my roots, and with Pauline Black, who was a black female in a predominately white male environment in the seventies doing two tone ska music. It was ground-breaking. We also shot Benjamin Zephaniah, a poet and icon from Birmingham. Designs were influenced by things that have come out of my culture, references from my mum and dad and the musicians we would listen to.
I feel like the construction of a loafer makes for the perfect canvas. How did you make the silhouette your own for the collaboration?
We kept true to the shape, added a new counter, and developed the shape. We also wanted to use a mix of different material, there's texture from the embossed croc, suede nubuck and leather. We then decided to do it in the two colours,’ the chocolate brown and navy black. There was a lot of consideration to keeping it classic with a Nicholas Daley design.
The loafer is between smart and casual dressing, which has led to it garnering a subcultural appeal. Is this something you wanted to achieve through your design?
Yes, we chose the chunkier lug sole. It’s lightweight, but with a utilitarian sole. This Super Lug sole resonates with a lot of my pieces which come from workwear and military references. I wanted to design a loafer that was robust and chunkier, I wanted to design something that would last.
Can you talk me through the process of designing and creating the collaboration? Were there any issues you had to navigate?
The hand-sewn cross-stitching on the front was something that took a few trials to get right. There was a lot of small intricate changes and details done across the shoe to create something quite interesting, as well as working within the range of G.H.BASS leathers available. It had to be practical and well made. This collaboration is a marriage of design and engineering within footwear.
Can you share how the use of textiles, which played an important role in “Roots to Rebel” influenced the collection?
It goes in line with wanting to keep it classic and rooted in the materials BASS is known for. We wanted a mixture of suedes and leathers, embossed leather, and hand work. When you work with such a classic shoe you do not need to go overboard, its classic look has lasted this long for a reason. I wanted to make a product that is wearable.
From one Midlands expat to another, how has your Midlands upbringing affected your creative process?
This season, looking at Ska and Two Tone you can’t not look from where it comes from, Coventry. As well as the strong backdrop of the working class and the cultural climate of the 70s and 80s. Plus, the Caribbean influence on the area and the impact it had on music, style, and culture. There are a lot of monochrome black and white prints and jacquards. The collaboration with G.H.BASS aligns with the footwear choice of a lot of the ska bands who are still playing today.
What was the cultural exchange that took place as part of this collaboration between Nicholas Daley and G.H.BASS?
G.H.BASS grew from the ivy league era of America, taking influence from jazz players adding to the whole americana vibe. G.H.BASS has enriched cultural nuance within the American style. This was interesting to research and design as I have worked with a lot of British shoemakers but not American ones. I was inspired by who would also wear weejuns loafers.
THE G.H.BASS X NICHOLAS DALEY WEEJUNS® LOAFERS WILL RETAIL AT £200 / €235 AND ARE AVAILABLE TO
PURCHASE AT WWW.GHBASS-EU.COM AND NICHOLASDALEY.NET
AND SELECT STOCKISTS
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