NOW Gallery is thrilled to welcome one of the UK’s most pioneering young fashion designers, Nicholas Daley, as its 2021 Fashion Commission. The fully immersive exhibition, RETURN TO SLYGO will celebrate the coming together of Nicholas’s multicultural Jamaican-Scottish roots with his passion for music in a multi-sensory installation.
A marriage of Nicholas’s three core values of community, culture and craftsmanship, the exhibition comes at a moment when we are all reaching out beyond our immediate circle, and with hope, a fitting moment of national healing and togetherness. RETURN TO SLYGO sees the gallery transformed into a welcoming space for the local community and visitors alike to come, slow down and dwell. A nod towards his fine tailoring reputation and attention to beautiful woven fabrics, Nicholas’ vision will see the gallery floor covered in bespoke woven carpets that invite the visitor to enter the space, sit down and take in the surroundings at their own speed. Bringing together his rich and diverse references and inspiration for his menswear designs, the backdrop of the exhibition will showcase a moodboard of different images allowing visitors to immerse themselves into his world where key archive imagery, family photos and iconic reggae club t-shirts will be on display.
A series of illustrative vinyls will cover the windows creating an inhabited and fun front to the exhibition. Designed in collaboration with illustrator Gaurab Thakali, Nicholas’s message will stand proud on banners in his signature Nicholas Daley fabric hung from the seven metre gallery ceiling. These banners highlight that the exhibition is a place for all to come and unite in a safe space beyond lockdown.
Offering an insight into Nicholas’s fierce sense of family and how his upbringing has had a powerful influence on his approach to fashion is a key theme of the experience, with his family honoured throughout. Two films offer a vision of his parents in relation to his practice and how they influence him. A screen will provide an opportunity to experience an intimate documentary style film by Joseph Dunn both showcasing different knitting techniques and interview Nicholas and his mother discussing family and ancestry in relation to Nicholas Daley’s current knitwear; and how his mother’s skills and craftsmanship have been passed down generations.
The second film is a tribute to Nicholas’s musical connections. The director Akinola Davies Junior explores a musical interchange between black British artists from different generations creating a musical conversation on ancestry, culture and resistance. The film features music by Sons of Kemet, Nubya Garcia, with a score by Dennis Bovell and poetry by Roger Robinson. Nicholas’s clothing acts as the glue to celebrate black British culture together and create a film that celebrates The Reggae Klub with the name “Slygo” deriving from his DJ Soundsystem name “IMan SLYGo”.
A playlist by Nabihah Iqbal is available to download, curated music with key tracks, and reminiscence by Maureen and Jeffrey Daley about the significance of reggae on life, atmosphere and making good times. An exclusive Nicholas Daley Tote bag is also available, and a zine produced for the exhibition with stills by Piczo from the film ‘Return to Slygo’ is being sold. All profits are going to Tomorrow’s Warriors – a charity who help aspiring young artists discover their magic, nurture nascent talent and achieve creative ambitions.
Jemima Burrill, Curator at NOW Gallery, comments: “Nicholas Daley is giving us the exhibition we need right now. Return to Slygo celebrates community and diversity but also flags up the brilliance and importance of UK design and manufacture. Nicholas Daley brings music and art into the mix, when we need a shot of light hearted hedonism and an exploration of what is good in the world, at this time.”