Ashish: Ready-To-Wear AW23

Ashish Gupta is currently in the midst of setting up the first retrospective of his work. The beloved designer has spent the last two decades frosting the London fashion scene with sequins by the plenty, producing a slew of the city’s most memorable collections in the process. “I don’t think I’m particularly nostalgic,” says Gupta, who chats to me from his studio. “I mean I don’t know where the time’s gone – I wasn’t expecting to last 20 years.” Trawling through his back catalogue had Gupta thinking about his days as a student at Central Saint Martins, and the hours he’d spend held up in Heathrow’s immigration queue upon returning from trips back home to Dehli.

“You’d always see quite interestingly dressed people in immigration,” says Gupta. “Because London is such a popular destination for newly married couples, they’d be quite dressed up, the women especially.” As a wide-eyed student at the time, Gupta was particularly struck at the mixes of traditional eastern and western attire, where comfort dressing met dressed-up garb in unlikely collisions. He channelled these delightfully off-kilter combinations within his AW23 collection, which sees hand-embroidered US-style sportswear paired with shirts crafted from vintage saris, and blown-up madras check slacks coupled with snowflake chunky knits. Elsewhere, leopard print crop tops and patchwork jeans channel your hippy-chic sort of traveller, whilst ombre striped tops, trousers and backless frocks take on slightly muddy hues, as if faded from the blistering sun.

“It was just really nice mixing different references together in a very instinctive way of working,” says Gupta, who has triumphed as an independent brand, without major investment, for over 20 years. Through the industry’s changing tides, nothing can dim Ashish’s sparkle.

Photography by Ashish Shah.

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