Osman Yousefzada is reaching beyond fashion and design into myriad new creative realms. Earlier this year he published his first book, “The Go Between,” a memoir of growing up in the insular Afghan Pashtun community in Birmingham, England.
He’s also been exhibiting art and installations internationally, and has collaborated with Selfridges on a series of projects. A new group of paintings based on talismanic objects is set to be unveiled in the personal shopping area at Selfridges.
Yousefzada continues to design seasonal collections, too, and for fall he tapped a diverse group of models to show off his dramatic, pleated and shimmering creations.
He showcased traditional textiles, prints and handwork from India and Central Asia, and filled his look book with activists, artists, models and stylists with diverse backgrounds and body shapes.
The designer said he’s trying to change the narrative around his work, spark an “interdisciplinary conversation,” and make clothing with “depth, and a message.” He continues to work with upcycled materials, handloomed fabrics and embroidery made in India by local artisans.
His references were drawn from a variety of sources including Roberto Capucci, traditional Afghan clothing and the multicolored flock velour blankets that are a staple in South Asian homes. He whipped the latter into a long, regal cape and spun the gold embroidery from Afghan men’s vests into a belted coat with printed patchwork panels.
There was a touch of Capucci in the full robe-like dresses with vast draped sleeves; a deep purple skirt with layers of gentle folds, and a long black dress with a sparkly bodice like a medieval breastplate.
Yousefzada also riffed on the South Asian kurta style, creating a dramatic, embroidered patchwork coat with broad, sharp shoulders that gave a whole new meaning to power dressing. The special pieces are the most popular ones at retail, said Yousefzada, who sells his collections at Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Farfetch.