ARISE at NYFW: Backstage with Gavin Rajah

Published: 3 years ago

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Words Helen Jennings  Photography Bennett Raglin

Describe your spring/summer 2013 collection?
I've looked at 1950s New Romanticism, which was the first time people were talking about sex and female emancipation. There's a lot of opulent embroidery, appliqué and floral motifs.

What are your expectations of showing with ARISE at NYFW?
All my clients are here, who usually come to see me in Paris, so it's a fun experience. What is important for me though is that people see the craftsmanship coming out of Africa, and to bring to the world's attention that Africans are huge consumers of luxury goods. The IHT's Suzy Menkes was saying to me recently that anything in Africa that is luxury has that handmade feel to it, and an emotional connection. It’s very different to what you see women wearing on the streets of NYC. So bringing that aesthetic here is important.

Who are your African icons?
I've worked closely with Nelson Mandela on his Children's Fund for a long time so it would have to be him.

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