Ashish Gupta, the creative director for his namesake label, Ashish, typically draws on his Indian heritage (he emigrated to London from Delhi in 1996) to create colorful, provocative, and statement-making clothing.
While this season was no exception, he instead found inspiration in the United States — more specifically, President Trump.
In the face of minority groups being targeted by the new president, Ashish sent out an inclusive collection, both with the models who walked (a curvy man with a bushy beard was a highlight) and the fashion.
The designer’s signature sequins appeared in rainbow stripes that subtly paid homage to the LGBTQ community, while phrases including “Why be blue when you can be gay?’ and “Unity in adversity” got the message across more overtly.
Other quotes featured on everything from tops to bottoms spoke to racial equality. “Love sees no colour” was emblazoned on baggy sweaters that were paired with cropped sweatpants. (Taylor Swift has actually worn a similar pair before.)
While baseball might not be so big across the pond, Ashish collaborated with the MLB to make some of the most blinged-out uniforms ever created. “I love baseball as an inspiration for equality and unity — the fact that it was the first sport to allow a person of color to play professionally is incredible,” the designer stated.
Race-car checks were also a predominant print, with similarly evocative lines including “More litter less Twitter” and “Stay woke” overlaid.
Each model’s face was painted in the style of Mexican wrestlers, adding a tough edge to the Ashish army. A mixture of men and women walked the show with the female faces walking powerfully to match the “Nasty Woman” text that flashed by.
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Ashish’s make-you-think collection follows Gareth Pugh’s political tone that encouraged the audience (via some rather creepy bug eyes) to “stay awake in order to stay woke.”
And just like the sequin-obsessed designer, House of Holland also displayed a fun ode to America, encouraging people to simultaneously remember and forget the current political climate.