behind the scenes at the fashion east exhibition opening tonight

Dexter Lander and Tamara Rothstein’s work celebrates the current wave of young designers supported by Fashion East.

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May 23 2018, 11:03am

Since launching in 2000, Fashion East has celebrated and nurtured wave after wave of young designers graduating and working in London. Martine, Matty, Marques -- all names you know -- have all benefited from the non-profit organisation’s programme and support. In fact, it’s no understatement to say most of our country’s best young designers have made their catwalk debuts as part of the initiative.

The current generation being imparted Lulu Kennedy’s expertise and knowledge -- Asai, Supriya Lele and Charlotte Knowles -- are as creative, diverse, exciting, talented and wonderful as any to pass through their HQ at the Old Truman Brewery, and are now starring in Fashion East’s first exhibition, opening tonight at Galeria Melissa in Covent Garden. In collaboration with photographer Dexter Lander and stylist Tamara Rothstein, they’ll be presenting special campaign imagery and a film, alongside garments created by the designers.

“They have all had very different lives and their experiences and passions are reflected so personally via their work,” Lulu explains about the talented trio of designers. “They are putting a lot of themselves out there and tackling some big subjects. Their work feels united by common threads of pride in their roots, passion, and very strong conviction.” It’s a sense of pride in their heritage that unites and excites most, each offering a unique exploration of the varieties of British identity today. From Asai -- who recontextualises his Chinese-Vietnamese heritage, mixing traditional craft and exhaustive explosive dedication to detail, with the energy of London, to Supriya -- who looks at the complexity of identity through the layers her Anglo-Indian background, to Charlotte -- who explores the codes and constructions of femininity.

The exhibition came about following the sad passing of incomparable fashion icon Judy Blame two months ago, who had always supported and encouraged the wild creativity of youth. Eduardo from Melissa, an old mutual friend of both Judy and Lulu, got in touch to do something to celebrate the current Fashion East designers, as a little tribute to Judy’s influence and creativity.

Together with Dexter and Tamara, the formidable fashion gang spent a day photographing the designers’ collections, whilst Tash and Raph of Fashion East filmed everything. “There was something in the improvised DIY spirit on set that reminded me of Judy,” Lulu says. “Dexter turned up with an old parachute, [Set Designer] Derek brought some cardboard boxes and paint, and we put it together and loved how it looked. We also had fun in the edit suite inventing weird soundtracks out of static feedback.”

“I’ve got a lot of respect for what the girls at Fashion East do,” Dexter adds. “They are real hustlers so was a pleasure to be able to be a part of the gang for this project. It was a great opportunity to work with designers I love in a relaxed and playful way.”

Head down to Galeria Melissa tonight to see the wonders they’ve created!