Hidden behind a huge canopy of trees in his front yard, Ashish Gupta opens the door to his house and welcomes me into an oasis of urban Zen. Celebrated for his love of riotous color, sequinned bedazzlement and fearless activism, Gupta’s home is a place for collected treasures, with many spots for quiet contemplation—including a wooden porch that overlooks a mini jungle in his backyard. It’s the kind of home that prompted Matchesfashion.com’s fashion and buying director Natalie Kingham to give carte blanche to Gupta to create something for homes—and several months later, and soon the sold-out the collection of blankets with history and craft was flying off shelves. I sat down with him over a glass of water (with ice cubes, served on an unusually hot sunny day in London) to chat about new horizons, approaches, and the comfort of beautiful things.
Caroline Issa: How did the Matchesfashion.com collaboration come about?
Ashish: Natalie Kingham emailed me and said, “Oh my God, I love your house”, and “if you could do some homeware what would it be?” At that point of time, I was quite obsessed with these Kantha blankets that I had just brought back from India. And then I started reading up about them and found that they come from Bengal, and were made by illiterate women who would make these blankets at home. The blankets were a means for them to tell their story and the technique had been passed down through generations.
CI: So their stories are important?
A: I like the idea that a classic Disney print or ’60s floral or some weird, horrible digitally printed ’90s pattern is mixed with some beautiful Indian block print. And the other nice thing about it is that the collection is made of either vintage fabric or end-of-stock fabric that is usually dumped in landfills.
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