Day two of London Fashion Week and the first show on our agenda was a bright and breezy 9am Saturday morning start for British heritage brand DAKS; a label with so much history and tradition, this year sees the 50th anniversary of them holding the royal check. We nipped backstage post-show this morning to interview DAKS designer Sheila McKain-Waid. Check out what she has to say about balancing the old with the new, keeping things fresh and what we can expect next from the brand..

Our DAKS show gallery and review is coming soon but check out the show for yourself in the video below.

We loved the collection - has it been a stressful time these past few days getting everything ready?

Yeah, I think most of the clothes arrived Thursday night, so it was just the waiting and really hoping your ideas come to fruition - I'd seen it a few times at our factory back and forth but it's not the same. I was happy with the final looks. I mean of course we're backstage and we see the one that went wrong as the zipper just wouldn't go up on a pair of trousers, but no overall I think the silhouette was exactly what I'd imagined in my mind.

Can you tell us a bit about what was behind the AW12 collection?

I think when I started this the first thing I began looking at was British landscape and architecture - particularly looking at the northern part of the country where there's this really contemporary architecture but then there's these really organic natural elements as well and I thought how can I combine that in clothing and say something different? So I was trying to use really streamline pieces as the bases like pleating, linear elements, seaming and deconstructing things in a very linear way but then also covering it all with a big cocoon of wool from Scotland.

Were there any specific British landscapes that you drew your inspiration from?

It's interesting; we were just looking at different artists - paintings from Turner to Ben Nicholson and how they interpret different things. I also went on a trip to Scotland and it was this crazy wild branch of trees one day. The trees were planted in such a linearway. There was a moment that was so interesting and I just thought it was so organic but in such a geometric way.


How do you balance the heritage of the brand as well as keeping things fresh?

I think it's all about contrast and balancing things. For any heritage brand it's the real trick - it's like how do you do that? How do you make it feel fresh? This year we were just at a fabric fair looking at these ultra-lightweight quilting down and it felt so new which is so funny because quilting is such a part of our heritage. We have a fantastic archives which has just gone digital this year - it's all about fabric and if you think about quilting I think of my grandmother sat there quilting something and the notion is quite interesting. For me the challenge is with making it feel new and push things whether it's through fabric or silhouette. I also used the house check this season and took a couple of pieces which we completely cut apart into weird geometric shapes and re-stitched it back together - it's about disassembling and reassembling to make it feel new.

What's next for Daks going forwards?
I'm sure next week we'll be like "Right - Spring Summer" [laughs]. No we have started designing Spring Summer so yeah a big deep breath and then we'll see!

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