Turnbull Talks: Daisy Knatchbull
Ahead of the launch of our new collection of women’s shirts, we caught up with the Founder of The Deck, Daisy Knatchbull, over a Bespoke fitting at our new concept space, The Room. We spoke about the history of The Deck, the inspiration behind the collection, and how the stylish simplicity of a crisp white shirt is something every woman should have in their wardrobe.
Daisy trying on one of our shirts, The Expressionist.
Turnbull: You started The Deck, a made to measure tailoring house for women, by women, back in 2019. Tell us more about the original inspiration behind starting the brand?
Daisy: I started The Deck because I wanted to give women the opportunity to be seen and heard on such an age-old street. To give women a chance to have clothes that properly fit, instead of making themselves fit tailoring, it’s making tailoring fit them. I wanted to work with the most incredible craftsman and people in this industry to help women stop apologising for who they are and how they look. It was about supporting women in being able to feel exactly as they should; every woman is unique; no two women are the same. It’s important to understand that.
The Deck is also about doing things that are good for the planet at the same time and supporting age-old traditions. To be able to do that on a street that is so male dominated is a fantastic thing.
Daisy with pattern cutter Lizandra Cardoni and Turnbull Creative Director Becky French.
How important is sustainability to The Deck?
For us, sustainability has very much been at the core of what we have done from the start. We don’t order excess volumes of cloth, we work on a piece-by-piece basis, and we try to only work with natural fibres, like wool which has some of the best fabric properties in the world; it's moisture wicking, warm, breathable and very natural. That's why it is the foundation for 90% of our clothes. We also work with buttons made from materials like nuts and milk fibres, opposed to non-natural materials. We also have some pretty cool bamboo cloth.
We try to encourage women to buy less but buy better. Versatility, durability and longevity are some of the core principles of our business. We like to inspire our customers to wear something over and over again, hence why we offer free repairs for life. We want to ensure that the garment stays in your wardrobe for life and is passed down from generation to generation. That to us, is being sustainable.
How would you define style when it comes to womenswear and which fashion icons influenced this collection?
To me it's understated elegance; simple but at the same time it has a powerful look to it. A strong shoulder, with a structured silhouette that highlights the female form, a notion that summarises our tailoring...We always say that its classical elegance meets modern femininity.
It is a little cliche, but I think style is something that is also good for the planet and supports craftsmanship; 11 million garments go to landfill per week in the UK, I would say that is pretty unstylish.
Style for me is really elevated basics and foundational pieces. I talked about investment pieces, pieces that form the building blocks to your wardrobe, in navy, beige and white tones. Really classic items that don’t go out of fashion, that transcend season and style. The four shirts we designed offers the ultimate collection of pieces that every woman wants in her wardrobe; focusing around being able to style them with key items like a great pair of cigarette trousers, a great pair of heels, or a really good jacket and then building on from that.
In terms of women who inspired me for this collection, there were so many; Jane Birkin, Phoebe Philo, Christy Turlington, Lauren Hutton, Katharine Hepburn. Cool girls from that bygone era who master this effortless chic which I think is for me, style is being well put together and very simple classic elevated elegance.
When conceptualising the four shirts with Becky, how did you envision each shirt being styled?
The Traditionalist is your classic, everyday shirt. It is so hard to find a really good shirt that has all the right properties, so it was really important to get this right. This is the shirt you wear with everything, it's the shirt you wear paired down, the shirt you wear in bed, to the boardroom, the school run or the shirt you wear on the red carpet. It's the one you treasure and love and it’s the easy breezy thing you can throw on and look really put together.
I love that you can smarten it up with the double cuffs as well, and we designed the collar so that you can pop it in a cool, elevated way - something different. It will just as easily pair with cufflinks and a tuxedo as it will a cosy round-neck cashmere jumper and jeans.
We wanted every shirt to kind of work for every occasion, but this is more of a casual dinner shirt, or a really smart black-tie shirt. It has a bit of personality; I love the idea that we worked with peace silk. Every woman needs a good silk shirt in her wardrobe. We wanted this to be a really cool, easy option that works for every woman’s style.
The Minimalist for me is just the cool girl chic shirt that was most inspired by those stylish women. The versatility again is fantastic, it's that classic beautiful black tie tuxedo kind of shirt but can also be paired with you know jeans and worn more casually in a kind of baggy, looser fit.
The Expressionist, the name kind of says it all, it does what it says on the tin. It has these elegant balloon sleeves, with French lace and pleats. It’s a more playful shirt, with a very cool 70's vibe to it. It will work well with some high-waisted, flared jeans for some attitude and one of those fair isle cardigans on top, a little bit more boho. It can be worn open or all the way to the top, where again you can throw over a round neck and have that beautiful lace collar peeping out. Worn with a mini skirt and suede boots, for that 70's vibe.
Turnbull's bespoke swatch book
This bespoke appointment was a special occasion, a first chance to be measured yourself after so many women have had a similar experience in your store. Tell us about the experience and the shirt you're having made.
I mean it was so exciting for me because I lie in bed consistently dreaming of my perfect shirt that never existed before this appointment. I have quite a strange body shape; I am slim, tall and people just assume that everything fits me perfectly. But actually, I have very long arms, broad shoulders and a very small waist. All of which is actually quite hard to design for and find shopping. So, to have something made for me was just incredible. Especially, with what I do, it was strange getting measured up by someone else.
My design, well it was that simple elegance we spoke about earlier. The little details give it that drama or elevate it. I wanted it to be a foundation piece for my wardrobe and workday-to-night, crafted from beautiful fabric. A shirt that has high crease resistance was really important for me, maximising its versatility and durability and matching my lifestyle of always being on the go. And finally, you can't go wrong with a stripe; it's classic and beautiful. I am really excited, it's those little details that the Turnbull Bespoke service offers, which I love. Everyone wants a Turnbull & Asser bespoke shirt, and I feel very lucky to be able to have had this experience.