Today I met and spoke with Ashish (designer) and Alice Casely Hayford (Fashion Editor) as they speak on the cultural and political side of fashion.
Ashish spring/summer collection is driven by his views and stance on cultural and political issues. This collection is influenced by his Indian roots which shines light on being an immigrant and being spoke of as if less than a human being. Ashish moved to the UK in his early 20’s and felt right at home where he established his designing career. He voiced that diversity in culture should be considered the ‘norm’ and not treated as a separate and different entity of people. Ashish made reference to a journalist that approached him regarding a show in which he did using only black models. His response was a question of why did no one inquired about the many other shows where he only used Caucasian models? Why is light being shown on the choice to use an all black selection?
As per the topic of race, their is a notable lack of variety that is display through other designers when selecting models to showcase their work. Ashish’s view on that were of the logic that you don’t board the tube and see a carriage filled with all Caucasians and only one black or one Indian person. Then why perform a fashion show with all Caucasian models and just one other culture; this is not normal. We should start embracing the diversity of our surrounding; the diversity of the reality around us.
On another occasion, Ashish was approached for doing a fashion segment where all his models wore afros. ‘Why?’ was what everyone was asking. He elaborated that if one feels so strongly about strictly living only within the means and expression of their culture and not embracing diversity, maybe non-Asian people should not eat Asian food, or maybe only Hawaiians should wear Hawaiian shirts. Why are we still so closed-minded in such a modern and mixed century?
Ashish collabortes with other brands and industry that supports his motives. He formely collaberated with the major baseball league who contacted him. ‘What did they have in common?’ you may ask. They were the 1st league to welcome black players and embrace the cultural diversity. Ashsish doesn’t only speak up for the black community but for all cultures that are being pointed out for their cultural differences.
Visit http://ashish.co.uk/ to see more of his design collections.