Above everything else, Fall in Love and Be More Tender points to the craftsmanship at the heart of Ashish, the brand, by Ashish Gupta. From the start of his business, Ashish wanted to celebrate the work of sequin makers and embroiderers in his native Delhi, by hand-making clothes - and zeitgeisty slogan T-shirts - that celebrated and highlighted the lives and concerns of immigrants and political refugees.
That he ended up dressing Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Rihanna makes sense. His are clothes with serious stage presence. But unlike many mass-market brands who use sequins for their throwaway glamour and sparkle, Ashish Gupta's clothes are meticulously handmade by artisans. “I don’t think people are necessarily aware that every individual sequin is sewn on by hand. They’re not mass-produced objects,” notes Joe Scotland, director of Studio Voltaire and the co-curator of the show with Roisin Inglesby.
Ashish was one of the first designers to feature a cast of all black models on his runway in September 2014, and later used his work to highlight diversity and inclusion in the wake of Brexit. The result is an archive that allows us both to take in the exuberance of recent British fashion history while also allowing us view the key pieces as artefacts and agents for change in society.