The former three times winner of New Generation designers, Ashish Gupta, has always been a strong fan of sequins and sparkles, but for his AW17 London Fashion Week collection he took this one step further. Speaking to HELLO! Fashion Monthly backstage at 180 The Strand, the BFC headquarters for LFW, he divulges how the Wizard of Oz, strong men women, and strong, brave people in general have inspired his designs this season.
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The British-born designer continued his political stance by throwing glitter at the biggest moments of the American presidential election and making a real fashion statement for equality, love and hope. In a collaboration with Major League Baseball, Ashish used inspirational motifs stitched into mini-dresses, baseball shorts, sequin jumpers and American college style letterman bomber jackets that contribute to the luxe side of the athleisure trend for 2017. Jumpers adorned with the words Nasty Woman, Pussy Grabs Back and Planned Parenthood showed his anxiety about President Donald Trump's politics, while Unity in Adversity, Better Together and Love Has No Colour slogans showed his hope for the future.
The designer admitted of his MLB collaboration, that saw slogans of famous teams such as LA Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs on the runway: "I would say it's about positivity in a time of so much confusion. It's about courage, equality, love and freedom...This collection brings together the male aesthetic translated in the most feminine way. I think I see it this season as more like the pieces being a labour of love, with really positive messaging".
Watch the video to see more about Ashish's LFW collection inspiration, or read the interview below!
"I think it's really important right now for anyone creative to use their work to say something about [politics], if you feel strongly about it, like I do," Ashish told HFM in our exclusive video interview backstage. "As a fashion designer the platform that I have is my clothes and my work, so obviously that becomes my way of saying what I want to say…Hope is so important and love is so important," he said. "Those are the things that we have to protect and really fight for, and we have to stand up against hate."
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The show took inspiration from The Wizard Of Oz as face-painted models walked a yellow bricked road – covered in glitter, of course – at 180 The Strand. "My love affair with sequins started when I was pretty young, when I saw the Wizard Of Oz for the first time. I was completely fascinated by Dorothy's red Ruby Slippers." Other inspirations, Ashish said, include his mother, friends and colleagues. "Lots of strong women and strong men that I know. I'm just inspired by strong, brave people around me who have so much positivity and love."
This year Ashish took on even more by joining Lavazza to design their special Fashion Week cups, and told us working with the brand was a perfect partnership. "Coffee is such a necessity, especially during Fashion Week. I usually wake up and go to bed with coffee, so I am a coffee addict, so it was a pleasure to do the coffee cup," he said. As for what's next, the designer went on to say: "I need to sleep. I need a lot of sleep. I've literally had like three hours of sleep in a week. I'll just get over the coffee high with some decaf."
See the best street style photos from London Fashion Week AW17 here.