Ashish Gupta is an Indian designer who lives in England and obsesses over American pop culture. We met in his London showroom to discuss his creative process and the many wonderful qualities of sequins.
You grew up in Delhi as the son of two doctors. How did you wind up in fashion?
I’ve been obsessed with it since I was quite young. My mom was a bit revolutionary in the way she dressed. It wasn’t the norm for a woman in Delhi to wear European clothing. This was the late ’70s. She was a bit of a rebel in that sense. There was always Vogue in the house. I grew up in that atmosphere.
Your work has a strong American sportswear influence. Where did that come from?
I’ve always been obsessed with Hollywood, Andy Warhol, Disney — those things that define American pop culture. And some of my earliest influences were people like Bob Mackie, Oscar de la Renta, the costume designer Adrian.
Speaking of glamour, most of your work is made of sequins.
I became obsessed with doing things that were sparkly and shiny when I was doing my MA collection at Central Saint Martins. I love how sequins can give things a different dimension. How the clothes hang differently. How the sequins can add depth to a colour. I love the idea of a girl wearing sequin pajamas at night.
Do you ever take design inspiration from the people you see out and about?
I’m always taking pictures. I’ll get on a bus and I’ll see someone quite interesting and I’ll try to sneakily take the person’s picture with my iPhone.
So you never ask for their permission first?
I’m too shy to go and ask for a picture. Though once I saw this girl on the underground and she had this really cool little bag. It was this weird, vintage looking teddy bear-type bag. I kept following her trying to take a picture of the bag and finally just walked up to her and told her, “Look, I’m not being funny and I’m not a freak.”