No, not a literal puppeteer. But someone who brings something tangible (garments, in this case) to life. The known title for this role is the 'stylist' or 'fashion editor', and the masses sometimes overlook their hierarchy in Runway despite their play being what ultimately will deem a checkmate. We're in the midst of Women's Fashion Week. While some will witness remarkable presentations, we wanted to discuss one fashion editor and their contribution to the final show.
Imruh Asha, the recently appointed Fashion Director of Dazed, has his hand in more than print and publication. Working with numerous brands for everything from campaigns and cover stories to runway shows, our appreciation for Asha can most eloquently be detailed in his collaboration with the brand Botter. While it doesn't outshine his other works, the union of these two entities is as seamless as the creation of the thread itself.
Beginning from his first show with the brand for F/W 21 Men's, Asha's visual detail is like precision in a nevertheless surreal world. Botter is a brand heralded since its launch in 2017 for its vibrant and straightforward design and dedication to upcycled materials. Asha's eye for maximizing a garment's story has become intrinsic to what makes Botter's presentations so compelling. Never afraid of mixing, mashing, or covering a model with accessories to stay afloat, Asha, with Botter's dedication to coral reefs, almost replicates the energetic ease of Earth's waters. There is always a play of palette, either soft with contrasting hues or going for bold and layering patterns with exciting cuts and tailored shapes.
When Botter's S/S 22 'Global Warming' digital show arrived, we received a dreamlike presentation of what all the wonders of climate and its effect on the aquatic might be. Models traversed through billowing textures and sun-spotted arenas with scuba masks, fisherman nets, and hooded umbrellas as if swimming in the upside-down. While the focus is the collection, the styling in this striking visual is one to compliment the overall narrative, not dominate. Creating a character for each look illustrates the beauty and alarm of the marine's actuality; we see a fisherman, some waste they may have caught, the deep-divers, the buoys, and the aquatic vertebrate animals themselves, moving alone and sometimes together as reality would naturally occur.
In his personal projects, you can feel remnants and homage done correctly, giving breath and freshness to a style similar to the beloved collaboration of Irving Penn and Issey Miyake. A strength of Asha is that he does not need a whole body to create something compelling; concentrated areas like ears or the back of one's head also do fine. The truth is, to be a great stylist, one must be inventive and be able to see all the possibilities of a garment, even when lying lifeless on a rack. Asha does this almost as a reflex in his approach.
Everything is art. Everything can be worn or accessorized. And in a world like today, it's necessary for visual architects as such to explore every dialect and history of fashion as a language. Imruh Asha's contribution to Fashion Week and runways is always a point of intrigue.
Text by Shahrnaz Javid