‘DELAIR’ a designer who has grown up in the suburbs of Leicester, his, Islamic Indian and British identity drives his work to explore the contradictions he’s faced. It gives a unique perspective on what it means to be a young Muslim. His intellectual take on western culture derived from consumer antics further emphasizes this through visual references.
After growing up with differing contradictions, I found myself at crossroads, confused and looking for answers. My own healing journey has inspired my research into looking at Islamic identity and identity formation through consumer culture, representation versus misrepresentation, modesty and sexuality. Looking at how these issues effect young Muslims in the west. I use strong visuals to develop interesting silhouettes, cool aesthetics and strong designs. Using traditional Islamic cultural wear; submerging this with a ‘postmodern’ futuristic sportswear feel.
My inspirations starts where I started, in the suburbs of Leicester. I visually tell my story and delve back into a world I had far removed myself from. My community, looking at my grandad’s mosque and taking inspiration from the traditional architecture of the mosque, I re-familiarise myself of the Quran that I often read at the mosque and its fluid calligraphic lines which make there way into my design development.
I look and study the people in the community and my family, the street style of the disenfranchised youth, the addicts and the mix of cultural wear. I incorporate the forbidden, the guilt of sensuality and sexuality highlighting the current climate; the postmodern and gen-z culture and attempt to visually show this culture clash. I further explore ideas or religion and faith as well as different philosophers’ perspective such as Nietzsche to understand differing perspectives on life and freedom.
When I started the designing process, I thought about what I wanted to portray to the audience, it was at that moment I knew that I wanted the design to be loud, different and to take up space. My ideas started by looking into the disenfranchised youth of my community, the street lifestyle and ‘roadman’ subculture. I looked at my uncles, who have a past with dealing and thought about their story. This led me to think about their wardrobe and the first puffer jacket I had received from them as an attempt to make me look ‘less gay’ I than used this staple wardrobe piece and accentuated the feminine figure by synching in the waist and creating big bold puffs on the shoulders. This acted as a metaphor of carrying dead weight around. My use of bright neon colours is a reference of the postmodern and the gen z alongside more traditional silhouettes such as the wrap trouser/skirt.