wecanfly Recap

02.04.24 General

Footpatrol: Jake, thank you for your time. Been looking forward to speaking more in depth on wecanfly since we worked together on the ia22 campaign. How are you?

Jake: Hey Footpatrol, thank you for having me it’s always good to catch up with you guys, I have great memories of our ia22 campaign! I’m doing well, everything in the world of wecanfly is flourishing.

FP: I know we gave people a little insight before into what you do but could you give us a bit more of an in-depth look into the world of Jake?

Jake: Of course, come step into my world for a minute. I’m a designer who loves sports, both of these passions fill me with joy and enhance my drive. My focus in Fashion is Sportswear Design which I consider as design for purpose. I’m inspired by the people around me, especially my twin sister Daisy, who has special needs. Our shared story growing up together has given me a unique understanding of the life of someone with a disability. From this experience, I created wecanfly, a brand with a vision to improve inclusivity and accessibility within fashion, society and everyday life. 

FP: Wecanfly I know is a brain child of yours since you were studying at university. How did it all come about? 

Jake: The vision of wecanfly was born before studying at university out of a conceptual project I created on my Art Foundation titled Daisys Life with a Disability. The project explored how the perception of disabilities in society has excluded Daisy. At the time, designing, pattern cutting and sewing were completely new to me. With no previous experience, I saw myself as a blank canvas ready to learn. This project was my light bulb moment. I discovered how I could apply my newfound fashion skills to something I genuinely care about Disability Inclusion. Initially, the focus was through the lens of Daisy and our lives together but I quickly began to realise how much bigger this was. Shortly after this, I presented the project to Sergio Tacchini who awarded me a scholarship to study Fashion Sportswear Design. In a short space of time, I’d gone from having an interest in fashion and deciding to give it a go-to feeling like I’d found my purpose. From then on, the vision was clear. I used my time at university to experiment and work on the concept to understand how to form this into a brand. wecanfly is the creation of this process.

FP: When you started that degree, did you think this was the direction you were going to take yourself down initially?

Jake: I guess I’ve just mentioned this above but yeah I did! 

On reflection, I think it’s fortunate that I started university with a clear understanding of my direction but I didn’t just sit about, I made it happen. Throughout my degree, I experimented with multiple techniques and styles of design/creation to understand my and I like/don’t like, my strengths and weaknesses to have the ability to create what became wecanfly in the best way possible.

FP: What are the struggles you think some of these people have when it comes to fashion and how do you plan to combat that as a designer?

Jake: Good question. Like all industries, there are many struggles, especially if you’re an emerging designer trying to make a name for yourself. It isn’t easy. Firstly, I think it’s important not to dwell on these struggles and let them get you down. It’s natural and all a part of the process; if you love what you do, you’ll know that. To focus on the struggles from a wecanfly perspective, a standout for me is that to a certain degree, wecanfly is not and will never be on trend. I’ve been aware of this from the get-go and it carries both positives and negatives. The struggle is that the concept and vision of wecanfly is new in the industry, meaning I have to trailblaze a pathway which has not yet been walked. Creating a trend-based brand can create momentary hype, but it lacks longevity. The positive of working from passion is having the ability to create a long-lasting brand which can make an actual difference you want to see in the world.

FP: Has there been a piece that really challenged you to think outside the box?

Jake: To date, all the wecanfly jackets have been challenging in their own right. Our first piece, The BlindAid Jacket, carried a unique set of problems to solve to create a product accessible to those with visual impairments. More recently, the DSDT EverWax Laoisha Jacket caused a few headaches! The jacket features a dual CF fastening with a magnetic zipper sitting in an overhang storm flap near the collar. I’d been given some magnetic zips from a factory with the plan to use them as the full CF zipper. However, it turned out they were only 20cm long. At 20cm, an open-ended magnetic zip doesn’t have much use. Determined to find a way to use one, I had to get creative, designing the whole jacket around the function of that zip. I designed the jacket and got to pattern cutting. Admittedly, I often get a little carried away adding features which are great but can be technically hard to execute. Anyway, we got there in the end and the final jacket looked exactly like my ambitious design.

FP: Can you tell me about the pieces we shot recently?

Jake: The three wecanfly jackets we recently shot were the final outcomes of a two-part project I planned towards the end of last year. For phase one, PurpleLightUp 23, wecanfly ran a creative workshop with the Down’s Syndrome Development Trust to celebrate Disability History Month. We taught three selected participants Eco-Printing. For the finale of the day, each participant designed and printed their own wecanfly jacket. These three jackets became the wecanfly designed by DSDT Jackets. They were the samples of the jackets we shot together. I planned the project around inclusion and sustainability. So often in fashion samples go to waste this project showcased the wecanfly approach using samples for inclusive, artistic purposes. The jackets were created using Halley Stevesons Purple P270 EverWax™ Vintage fabric. Each jacket is named after the three individuals from our wecanfly workshop. All jackets are asymmetric designs with magnetic fastenings, finished with the signature wecanfly green pull tags.

FP: Have you got the next plans in action for wecanfly?

Jake: I’ll keep my cards close to my chest for now on this one, although I will say some good conversations are taking place. There will be big projects coming out throughout the year.

FP: Thank you again for allowing us to share your story Jake. It’s been great to catch up and get to know a bit more about you! Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Jake: As said by Dan, one of the participants of the wecanfly workshop, Be kind and hold hands.

‘Disability is not inability’

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