• Text Lakeisha Goedluck
  • 21st February 2018

Subvert the norm

Representation is a word that has been at the forefront of popular consciousness in recent years – and for good reason. The fashion industry has long grappled with the concept, so when designers who happen to also be people of colour draw upon their own cultures within their work, it feels inherently refreshing and undoubtedly necessary.

For her third outing with Fashion East, the Asian-British designer Supriya Lele delved into her heritage to present a collection that was both personal and playful. Inspired by an image of her grandfather dressed in a hunting jacket, who formerly worked for the Indian Forest Commission, Lele adapted the outerwear silhouette for her own designs.

Deconstructed pocket-heavy coats were teamed with translucent neon-green blouses, while one-shoulder dresses with their manifold cut-outs and twists were built with maze-like construction. Of particular note were the ornate ear cuffs – devised in collaboration with jewellery designer Husam El-Odeh, they served as a unique meld of precious stone and traditional Indian costume-style pieces.