Which isn’t to say he’s lost his knack for expertly mixing different influences; it’s just that this time around, there’s less (however thoughtful) discord, and more organic melding of elements that you might not initially imagine working together. Custom herringbones, nearly-undetectable stripes, and the occasional monotone chevron pocket or lapel coexist easily, each appearing solid from a distance and demanding intimacy to be fully appreciated. It’s a come hither move—once you’re familiar, seemingly simple fabric has texture; seemingly random bars of a jazz track, structure; seemingly irreconcilably different cultures, commonalities. Heterogeneity is not a lost opportunity, as disenfranchised voters might view it, but an engine of creation. It makes old things new.
This much is evident in Red Clay’s silhouettes, which bridge the generations and miles between hepcats and rudeboys—each in themselves the product of cultural and creative exchange. Daley, whose Scottish and Jamaican ancestry perhaps predisposed him to a love of punk, reggae and ska (the combination of which he’s played during presentations past; Don Letts
is a muse of sorts, after all), has modernized the genres’ ocean-crossing aesthetic with oversized newsboy and pork pie hats by London institution Christys’, George Cox-made creepers, drop-shouldered trench coats and cropped cocoon trousers. But he’s also clearly drawn from the warm, leather-tinged coziness that a Blue Note LP conjures in the imagination, showing tobacco-colored shawl cardigans, professor-worthy elbow patches and formal pajama-esque sets that perhaps until now, only actual contemporaries of John Coltrane (a photo of whom reportedly inspired the collection) and Freddie Hubbard (whose 1970 album the release is named after) could rock—or, should we say, riff.