At a preview for his first standalone London Fashion Week show, Ta reveals how his background in retail has served him well
Designer A Sai Ta has achieved cult acclaim for his use of Asian iconography at his brand Asai – Hot Wok tops, nunchuck handbags, clothes packaged in takeaway boxes – but for his first standalone show on the London Fashion Week schedule this weekend, the British-Chinese-Vietnamese designer did not want to play to type. “I feel like it’s important for a young brand at an early stage to show that they can do more than just what they’re known for,” he says.
Ta previously showed with the nonprofit designer showcasing scheme Fashion East at London Fashion Week in February 2017, alongside Charlotte Knowles and Supriya Lele. But where earlier collections tended towards statement pieces, a preview of his AW19 offering demonstrated Ta’s desire to create “a wardrobe of clothing”: double-breasted jackets, tailored trousers and peasant dresses in autumnal wools and heritage fabrics were overlaid with mud-evoking gold foil. There is a stronger focus on cut, layering and proportion that Ta traces back to his earliest days at Central St Martins. “When I was 20 until maybe 25, all I wore was women’s clothes,” he says. “Everyone used to say I looked like an old art teacher … smocks, and loose trousers, things like that. I always thought it was a lot more attractive seeing a woman all wrapped up.”