My Cultural Life & Inspirations – Daniel Peters
Written by Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy
Welcome to My Cultural Life, where we speak to figures in and around the fashion industry about their daily life and inspirations. We start with the founder of (Fashion) Minority Report, Daniel Peters, who tells us about his recent fashion discoveries, Beyoncé fandom and life-changing advice.
What are you wearing today?
I am a big fan of Uniqlo so there is always an element of Uniqlo, like these black trousers. I’m wearing one of my favourite hoodies actually, it’s an Acne face hoodie in lilac, it makes me happy whenever I wear it. I’m wearing a pair of Salomon Odyssey 1 Advance trainers that I picked up last year at Goodhood, one of my favourite little spots for finding fashion gems.
What have you enjoyed wearing lately?
A brand I’ve recently started buying is Beams Plus. I got a really incredible shirt from the Mr Porter sale, and it looks like a patchwork of different fabrics. It’s got two little pockets and it’s really amazing. My go-to is always Uniqlo because they always have something that’s well priced, but, at my age, will wash out well and stand the course of time. I got this incredible pinstripe denim chore jacket from them, which is my favourite go-to piece. I don’t like to conform to dressing too smart or too casual, but I find that having that jacket on instantly elevates my outfit.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
Other than playing with Barbies, my earliest fashion memory was of my mother working as a seamstress. She recreated the Versace safety pin dress for a client or friend of hers when I was between six and eight years old. I remember the process that she went through to perfect the dress so that it would make the client happy. Seeing that end result, and the look of excitement on her client’s face, showed me the transformative power of fashion.
What was your first job?
When I was about eight years old, I set up a baking company — I used to bake cakes and charge for them. I’ve always weirdly had a bit of an entrepreneurial side but didn’t realise that until about recently. My first retail job was working for Dune in their Tottenham Court Road store, and it was… an eye-opening experience.
What was your first triumph at work?
Probably when I worked in the retail team at H&M’s Oxford Circus store. I really wanted to get into visual merchandising, and they gave me an opportunity to set up the space for the Stella McCartney collaboration, which was the first collaboration that they did. It taught me a lot about what I could achieve because I put myself forward for the opportunity, and was lucky enough to do it.
What do you love about the fashion industry?
This might sound like a bit of a cop-out because I’ve written this before, but I love the transformative power of fashion. On a personal and societal level, fashion can create change and I think it’s not given as much credit as it should be, considering the money that the fashion industry generates for the UK sector. Money aside, fashion can make you come alive, it can make you feel seen or it can help you hide away.
What do you dislike most about the fashion industry?
Other than a lack of representation, what I dislike most is how we consume clothes and encourage brands to create them. Look at the brands who make more than two collections per season as well as cruise collections — it’s an inordinate amount of pressure that we put on people and the planet. We don’t need to produce so many clothes!
What inspires you when you think about change?
I think people are at the heart of it. Ultimately, change is something that can affect the way that we live on a daily basis. With the work I do at FMR, people are at the heart of it all, that’s what inspires me to push for change. In workshops or speaking engagements, I like to say that we all have the ability to be changemakers. And I think that sometimes we get bogged down in the sense of I’m only one person, I can’t make a difference, when actually, even one person can make an impact.
Who do you know that makes you think differently?
Generally, the people I surround myself with are friends and people from my co-workspace. They give me the ability to pose questions and get answers that might conflict with what I was thinking, but they encourage me to think differently and to think better. Ultimately, I think being surrounded by a wide intersection of trusted friends and people allows me to do better and be better, but also to think bigger.
What has inspired you today?
There’s a mentee from our second mentoring cohort who’s coming in to meet me today, and I’m inspired to hear what he’s taken from the programme and how FMR can continue to support him. For me, our mentoring programmes are so exciting because it’s all about the next generation of talent finding their feet. That inspires me to continue the work we do at FMR.
What has inspired you lately?
Lately, Beyoncé’s Oscars performance. Seeing the performance and seeing how she just came up and attacked it, and just… it’s Beyoncé at the Oscars! I love how it was unapologetically black. That inspires me, you know — not the whole ‘you’ve got as many hours in the day as Beyoncé’ thing, but to strive for and do more.
How do you inspire yourself?
By listening to Beyoncé? No, to be fair, part of how I inspire myself is putting on great music. Using that as a tool to G myself up, to get the headspace to think and breathe and articulate things — go into my little zone. Lately, I’ve been listening to Aaliyah, Moonchild, Caprisongs by FKA twigs, a little bit of Lil Nas X.
I love to head out on my own and explore the great culture that is so readily available on offer in the city. I recently went to the Hayward Gallery and saw a Louise Bourgeois show. I wasn’t familiar with her work at all, but it was a really wonderful show to take inspiration from, especially with the large scale metalwork and the hidden meanings littered across them. I also went solo to see Small Islands at the National Theatre, and what a captivating experience it was. I’ve raved to as many people as possible about how great it was from the staging to the character depiction and of course the journey that you go on as a viewer given the difficult moments that we encounter through the storyline. I think it’s important to get out there and immerse myself in the arts because the UK is so rich when it comes to it.
How do you want to inspire others?
I want to inspire others to see their full potential. How do we do that? It’s always gonna be down to the individual, but sometimes it can be blurry. Like I was saying before, we can be disheartened or told to step back from what we want to achieve. And we don’t always have enough people behind us pushing us forward. Whatever work I can do to inspire others to find their full potential is it for me.
What’s a great piece of advice you once received?
While working at H&M, I had a manager who knew I wanted to become a supervisor, and she deterred me from doing so. She said, “if you do it, you’ll end up staying here for life because you’ll be so attracted to the money and won’t necessarily see what other opportunities are out there for you”. I ended up handing my notice in within a couple of months and went to work on the shop floor at Selfridges. Within three months, I got the role at Burberry head office. If I didn’t get that piece of insight, then I may still be in the same position.
What’s a piece of advice you’d like pass on to people?
To see your full potential and build upon it, but also not to limit yourself by thinking that you need to stick to doing one type of job. We’re so multifaceted that actually, we can be good at more than one thing. We’ve been discouraged from being those people in the past and are at a point now where we should be celebrating the different skills and resources that we have at our fingertips.