When Daniel Kearns started studying fashion at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, the young Irishman had no intention of designing menswear. Fast forward 20 years and Kearns has built quite a resume, including positions at Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, and Alexander McQueen. Since 2016, he’s been creative director of Kent & Curwen, the London heritage menswear label founded in 1926, with football icon David Beckham as a high-profile partner in the business. Kearns’ challenge is to reinvigorate an old-school label in the age of street style and fast fashion.
When we meet, he’s wearing a pair of loose-fitting trousers paired with a beige over-shirt. Kearns’ own approach to fashion combines practical and classic style. Looking back at his post-graduate studies at the Royal College of Art, he reflects how he always wanted to be taken seriously. At a time when it was all about “the weirder the better”, he did not want his designs to be seen as art projects.
While most aspiring designers use their time at university to explore their creativity by designing with their heart rather than their head, Daniel preferred to hone his ability to design in response to the market. “I never wanted to pigeon hole myself,” he says. “I think my job as a designer is to answer a brief and to make clothes that sell.” With this in mind, he set to work to design suits that would look and feel bespoke but could be bought off the peg.