Planar polarity is a fundamental property of epithelia in animals and plants. In Drosophila it depends on at least two sets of genes: one set, the Ds system, encodes the cadherins Dachsous (Ds) and Fat (Ft), as well as the Golgi protein Four-jointed. The other set, the Stan system, encodes Starry night (Stan or Flamingo) and Frizzled. The prevailing view is that the Ds system acts via the Stan system to orient cells. However, using the Drosophila abdomen, we find instead that the two systems operate independently: each confers and propagates polarity, and can do so in the absence of the other. We ask how the Ds system acts; we find that either Ds or Ft is required in cells that send information and we show that both Ds and Ft are required in the responding cells. We consider how polarity may be propagated by Ds-Ft heterodimers acting as bridges between cells.