Supriya Lele, Imruh Asha, and Hillary Taymour on the cities they love
In a series of films made in collaboration with Soho House, we hear what makes London, Paris, and New York special to the three fashion creatives
During the pandemic, our way of working changed forever. Though logging on from home offered a chance to get a little more sleep and save on that daily commute – not to mention the perks of turning up for Zoom meetings wearing pyjamas on your lower half – for many creatives who work collaboratively, the chance for IRL connection was greatly missed.
Last fashion month, in collaboration with Soho House, we spoke with three of these creatives: British-Indian fashion designer Supriya Lele, an alumni of Fashion East who launched her namesake label in 2016; Hillary Taymour, the founder of Collina Strada, a brand that also describes itself as “a platform for social issues and awareness”; and stylist, consultant, and Dazed fashion editor Imruh Asha. With each living and working in different cities (London, New York, and Paris respectively), we followed them in a series of films, capturing the moments they were presented their first physical shows and shoots post-lockdown.
As well as revealing their predictions for what’s next in fashion and what they love about the cities they live and work in, the trio also discuss the importance that Soho House plays in building their sense of creative community, acting as a hub for people to come together again after months spent apart. “Community is everything and all we have,” says Taymour. “And if we’ve learnt anything during this time, it’s that we can only rely on our friends, our loved ones, our family and our community.” Watch below to find out more.
HILLARY TAYMOUR (COLLINA STRADA)
“NYC is so important to my work,” says Hillary Taymour, who founded her label Collina Strada in 2009. “I feel like this city is so inspiring to see what everyone is wearing – also to be inspired to keep following your dreams. If you can make it herei you can make it anywhere!” Working from a studio space in Chinatown, on Canal and Elizabeth, Taymour finds inspiration for her work right outside the front door, noting that Bushwick and Lower Manhattan are also regular haunts of hers.
When she’s not in her studio, or walking round the city, she’ll head to Soho House. “I think Soho House has been a constant to allow people to take meetings in a safe space or an out of office office space for travelling,” she says. “It’s a great relaxing spot to think, see like minded creatives, and network.” Currently working on her Pre-Fall and AW22 collections, as well as a few unreleased collabs, Taymour notes that the pandemic has actually strengthened the creative community in New York. “It has allowed for the space for better collaborations; more intentional collaborations with longer timelines to make good products and ideas.”
Supriya Lele’s work examines the interplay between two cultures, with a focus on her British identity and Indian heritage, seen through the lens of a Y2K aesthetic. Growing up in the West Midlands, with parents from Nagpur and Jabalpur, Lele moved to London and studied at the Royal College of Art, calling the city her home for a number of years. “I think what makes London really special, in my opinion, is the openness,” says Lele.
The sense of community it affords creatives is also something that she credits having an impact on her design practice. “It’s very community-based, bringing young talents together.” Lele’s studio is based in Bermondsey, but she also says that she’ll head to Soho House to work when she wants to mingle with other creatives working in different fields. “What’s cool about it is that it’s an amazing place you can use for working, having meetings, networking… These young creatives who hang out there aren’t just peers, but friends.”
Stylist and Dazed fashion editor Imruh Asha works out of Paris, having kicked off his career in fashion in Amsterdam. The creative, who has Dutch-Carribean roots, now has a studio in the 10th arrondissement where he is currently working on ‘too many projects’ and a new exhibition.
With an eye for bold colour and sculptural influences, Asha’s ongoing creative partnerships include photographers Carlijn Jacobs and Will Scarborough (as seen in the latest issue of Dazed) and also brands such as Botter, whose shows he styles. “I mainly get inspired by (being close to) the amount of fashion designers based in this city,” says Asha. “Soho House really brings creatives together; you meet your peers and collaborators very easily there.”
Asha also notes that the pandemic has made the need for these close-knit working relationships even greater. “It has somehow brought people together, especially for the people that stayed in Paris during the lockdown. We were kind of forced to find each other and work it out together.”