Daisy Knatchbull, Founder of The Deck, London, a Tailoring House Exclusively For Women.

When did you first realize you wanted to set up The Deck

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 however 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 therefore 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 so opening a tailoring house exclusively for women on Savile Row amongst the macro trend of female suiting and rise of female empowerment couldn’t have been more perfect. 

Do you feel responsible as an example for young women who might want to take up the profession

To be the first women’s tailor to have a shopfront on the street is an incredible feat and one we are extremely proud of. It’s about time! Helping other young female entrepreneurs is something I am incredibly passionate about and I am excited to do more around this as we grow. Tailoring, particularly, is as an industry and a craft that needs to be cherished and protected, so the more, young talent the better. I of course hope to inspire other young women however I can.

How do you think you would have felt growing up if you had other women who had come before you?

I’d hope that I would have felt inspired and believed that old habits could change. Ultimately that if you put your mind to something, it really can be possible. So many women (including myself) suffer from imposter syndrome or intense feelings of self-doubt so the more people that can further the cause for women the better – there is room for everyone!

Did you have any ( tailoring )role models growing up or even now? Be they individuals or businesses.

I have many role models within and outside of the tailoring industry. The craft of tailoring is an incredible art, and one that I have huge respect for. There are a lot of incredibly talented people on and off Savile Row doing brilliant things. I have had an array of role models throughout my life for various reasons, all of whom have played a great role in inspiring me to be able to start The Deck.

Describe a typical, but busy day at The Deck London.

The day begins with a team meeting between myself, our Head Tailor Michaela and Production Manager Maria over coffee before quickly descending into back to back new appointments, baste and final fittings with clients. We are so lucky to be positioned where we are on Savile Row as it’s a great view out onto the hustle and bustle of the street and if the sun is shining, we are lucky to get it through our shop window all day. There are always lots of people, couriers, clients, deliveries and tailors coming in and out throughout the day which gives the shop a nice atmosphere along with our delicious smelling candles and latest Spotify playlist playing in the background. All of this set to the backdrop of our cosy interiors (done up by the fabulous OKA) and the cream and deep blue panelled walls of our shop. The day finishes with a round up with the team and usually a shop exploding with cloth bunches, pins and tape measures.

What two or three books would you say have had the biggest impact on who you are today, if not books, people?

  1. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Christopher Voss & Tahl Raz – Never underestimate harnessing the power of negotiation, particularly when you’re leading from a former FBI negotiator.
  2. Grit: The Power of Passion & Perserverance by Angela Duckworth – highlights the importance of that magic ingredient ‘grit’ that most successful people need to achieve
  3. Losing my Virginity by Richard Branson – fascinating to watch the highs and lows of a business so successful and important to remember the road isn’t always plain sailing

What aspirations do you have for The Deck London brand? For example, would you like to have international offices in New York?

Suiting as many wonderful women as we can from all corners of the planet. Having had so much time to think during the pandemic, whilst we were closed, it allowed me to look at things obliquely and do a bit of ‘blue sky thinking’ – taking stock of where we have got to and where we want to be. I can’t say much yet but we have great plans to expand and grow the business globally whilst also adding a few new exciting things to our offering including jumpsuits and overcoats in the near future.

If you could have a permanent brand ambassador for the brand, who would they be and why?

Lauren Hutton, always! That dream came true when she became a client earlier in the year  – a massive and very humbling moment for me. She was/is a huge pioneer of the trouser suit and a real idol of mine. Effortlessly chic.

 How would you describe the state of the industry and what do you see the future being?

Post lockdown consumer shopping habits have changed, and we are definitely seeing a shift in spend habits. People are starting to be more considerate about what they are buying – consolidating their wardrobes and looking to invest in longevity, versatility, and durability. All of these qualities are inherent to tailoring and more and more people will be wanting to shop local, buy less but buy better and keep long standing traditions and techniques alive.  So, although the pandemic was incredibly tough for the tailoring industry (socially distanced tailoring is near impossible), we are starting to see a huge increase in sales post lockdown as the more conscious consumer is choosing to purchase high quality investment pieces such as a suit from The Deck that they can wear just as easily as separates.

The rest of this editorial will be published at a later date.