10 things you need to know about supriya lele

Get to know the newest Fashion East recruit.

by Tish Weinstock
23 February 2017, 11:47pm

Supriya Lele is the British-Asian designer everybody's talking about. The son of two doctors, Supriya's parents moved from India to the UK before she was born. Though she spent a part of her early life in India, Supriya actually grew up in the West Midlands, in a small village called Meriden. Despite starting out life as an architect, she soon realised it wasn't for her, so she changed to art and ultimately fashion. And thank goodness for that! Inspired by the duality of her cultural identity, her work is a refreshing take on femininity. In 2016 she set up her own eponymous label, after which she was snapped up by talent incubator Fashion East. Fresh from her London Fashion Week debut, we caught up with the rising star to see what the future held.

1. She actually began her career training to be an architect…
"I moved to Edinburgh to initially study Architecture, which I did for a year but it wasn't quite the right fit. I loved the city and my friends at art school, so I switched over to do the foundation course, and quickly realised I wanted to do something that involved working in 3-D. The choice was either sculpture or fashion, and I felt more of an affinity with fashion."

2. Her earliest fashion memory is about her granny's sari…
"I guess I have quite a few important memories that shaped me but one that stands out is a really early one of watching my grandmother putting on a sari. I remember being quite mesmerised at how quickly and easily she draped the fabric on herself, but then also having an immediate awareness at how different contextually her clothes were from the way we dressed back at home in the UK."

3. But there was the influence of Oasis Market…
"As I grew up I was pretty experimental with the way I dressed, being an only child of Indian parents I wanted to push the boundaries a bit. I used to go to this place called Oasis Market in Birmingham with my friends where I would pick up loads of goth gear and dress up in it over the weekends… These moments have been pretty important in shaping my attitude to fashion."

4. If she were to distil her collection into a few words, they would be…
"Fresh and modern, with an edgy of femininity."

5. For inspiration she looks to her own experiences…
"For this season it was my heritage and the mix of being part of two cultures - British and Indian, but it is also about the women who have been influential to me in my life. On a more general note, I can be inspired by loads of different things, anything from books, films, photography, fabric or art…I tend to just go with the flow and see what naturally fits together."

6. With it still being very early days, hers ultimate career highlight has been her most recent one…
"Getting a spot at Fashion East and having my first show at LFW!"

7. The best piece of advice she's ever received was actually the worst…
"Not to bother applying to the RCA as I probably wouldn't get in. I'm glad I got told that because it made me do the opposite and to never get complacent!"

8. Speaking of bad advice, another is…
"That tattoo is a great idea…"

9. If she could change one thing about the world, she would create…
"Less borders."

10. For Supriya the best thing about being a young creative is…
"Having complete freedom of expression and being able to experiment. It's really liberating to feel that there is so much to explore, and be inspired by. London is brilliant for that too, there is so much going on here and so many amazing people to bounce off."


Text Tish Weinstock

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