Daniel Gregory Natale returns home for a fashion week pop-up.
I never liked to draw,” admits Daniel Gregory Natale when asked why he changed his focus from architecture to fashion after finishing a foundation year at Parsons The New School in New York. The Toronto-raised Natale thought he’d follow in his architect mother’s footsteps until he realized that clothes also allowed him to cut and build prototypes out of raw materials but in a faster, more direct manner. Besides, “between the students and New York, the energy was so high around fashion.”
His parents encouraged him to explore different forms of design, too, and it turned out to be sound advice: Selfridges bought Natale’s entire graduation thesis in 2016. “I ended up producing 150 pieces in New York and Toronto,” says Natale, as if it was NBD.
September is a homecoming of sorts for the 27-yearold. He joins 11 other Canadian designers in the Discover This pop-up, a Hudson’s Bay partnership with RE\SET by The Collections. Discover This launches with a presentation at Toronto Fashion Week on September 4.
“I’ve always wanted to do something back home,” says Natale, who lives in New York but keeps a studio in Toronto, where his brother and business partner, Raymond, is based. Natale is contributing two looks to the pop-up, one of which is his much-talked-about Upside Down jeans. The jeans, which are made from upcycled Levi’s and, true to their name, feature bum pockets at the ankles, were originally a limited-edition piece, so there was much head scratching when a shockingly similar pair appeared on the Vetements Fall 2018 runway. Natale is once again very NBD about it all. “I know how much [Demna Gvasalia] references other designers and does this all the time,” says Natale. “Besides, when it happened, I didn’t have to go out there and prove myself. People were like, ‘Oh, yeah, those are very referential.’ I didn’t have to fight any battles.” As they say, “Save your strength.”