The West seems to have an ebb and flow relationship with Asian fashion designers – though the recent and astonishing success of Han Chong’s self-portrait label certainly bodes very well. But one organization, Fashion Parade (founded in the UK in 2013), is definitively focused on keeping the flows outpacing the ebbs.
Its inaugural Stateside event (sponsored by Citi) unfolded last night, August 27, at Christie’s in New York City. Specifically promoting South Asian style, Indian and Pakistani designers Ali Xeeshan, Faiza Samee, Kamiar Rokni, Elan and Delhi Vintage Co. were all showcased, with a post event panel discussion featuring the Dean of FIT’s School of Graduate Studies Mary Davis, who enthused about honoring, “the creative work of an exciting group of designers from an area of the world where fashion and the arts are a dynamic cultural force, but not yet well-known in America.”
We couldn’t have said it better.
Seeking deeper insights and wisdom on the state of South Asian fashion, we caught up with Fashion Parade’s founder Sadia Siddiqui, who perfectly articulated the significance of this essential cross-cultural fashion mission.
What makes this a good time to focus attention on South Asian fashion?
There is an international discussion about diversity, and it is a great time to talk about and change perceptions of South Asia on a global scale, and bring the influence of its design to the West. I think South Asian fashion is largely stereotyped, and people tend to think that the designers only design traditional clothes. [But their] design and craftsmanship have evolved, and we wanted to highlight its evolution, to bring this slowly fading craft to the forefront of the fashion world.
How were this year’s designers chosen?
We had chosen our designers very carefully. From what was seen on the runway, each designer had a unique style and great sensibility. Each of our designers [brought] a different element to the show: there was fine craftsmanship, a narrative of social justice, and vintage designs that all elevated and showcased the best of South Asian design.
What was Christie’s’ role for this event?
Christie’s hosted and also procured a stunning exhibition of contemporary South Asian Art, specially for Fashion Parade. We wanted not only to discuss fashion, but all South Asian art and culture. They did a phenomenal job.
What are some of the fashion trends coming out of South Asia?
Heavy embellishments will be replaced by fabrication. Loose silhouettes are trending, and textiles are back in a big way. Hand loom and woven fabrics are trending.
How do you see your role and Fashion Parade’s role in promoting Asian fashion around the world?
Fashion Parade is a platform that is built around promoting diversity in fashion. In London for the past five years it has brought awareness of South Asian fashion to the British market. This was the inaugural event in New York, and there was a great reception with bloggers, foreign press and the general media who were present at the event. The collections showcased were widely celebrated. I would like Fashion Parade to grow and truly be the voice of South Asian fashion in the West.