Ashish Sends Lots Of Color Down The Catwalk — In More Ways Than One

Lights, action...funk. As a disco track swelled through the speakers, model Poppy Okotcha appeared on the runway in a cotton candy-pink sequined sweatshirt, slim-fit trousers, and a matching XXL afro. Welcome to the mad, beautiful, colorful world of London's spangliest designer: Ashish Gupta.
Photo: Courtesy of Ashish.
A favorite of Lily Allen and M.I.A., Ashish's heavily sequined designs (think Kim and Kanye's faces embellished on a sweatshirt) and embrace-everything attitude has made him one of London's most lionized, loved, and Instagrammed designers. (You likely saw the notable moments from last season on social media, like skateboarding star Charlie Barker and a high-heeled Jay Boogie heading down the runway in not much more than a dash of glitter.) Early Tuesday morning, your feed was probably filled with a rainbow of head-to-toe sequined looks and equally loud wigs (Anna Trevelyan, Ashish's right-hand woman, brought these to the table). For fall/winter 2016, things were as bold and colorful as ever: a glittery camel raincoat, a vibrant violet sequined crop top and maxi-skirt, a dance floor-ready cowl neck minidress in brick orange, a ballet-slipper pink tracksuit. "[The collection] was actually inspired by a rainbow and a box of crayons I owned as a child," Gupta told Refinery29. "So I thought, last season was so kind of random; I was inspired by the randomness of things. This season, I wanted to be super structured, super organized, and controlled."
Photo: Courtesy of Ashish.
Controlled in sticking to a singular shade per look, yes. But these looks aren't for the faint-hearted, nor are they designed for commercial prospect. Then again, that's not really the point of Ashish. What the point is, is inclusivity, celebration, and fun. And for Ashish, the atmosphere and the casting is just as much a part of his show and vision as the design direction. From Okotcha to Leomie Anderson, Lily Fofana, Kiara Ridgell, and Summer Thompson, Gupta has always truly championed diversity in a way that no other designers can seem to manage: "[This show] was a celebration of color, and not just physical color, but of people," he says. "I always have a mixed casting. I believe in a mixed casting. We live in a mixed world — why do people ignore that? I love all different types of people. Everyone is beautiful. I find it hard not to appreciate the beauty in everybody." Here, there was a lot to look at: And we don't just mean the mustard jacket that read "Golden Shower" on the back, or the peddle pushers with cartoonish bows on the calves. There was an inclusivity that isn't often seen on the runway. And that is very iPhone-friendly, indeed.

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