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British fashion designer is set to headline at Spanish Afro-Fusion festival


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This year British designers have hardly been away from the spotlight. We had Clare Waight Keller designing the royal wedding gown, Kim Jones taking over the coveted helm at Dior Homme, and Victoria Beckham celebrating 10 years as a designer. British designers are taking over the world, and Clariscia Gill is one of them.

The London designer has been dubbed ‘The Clothes Whisperer’ by her loyal hoards of clients who reside all over the globe. Gill has been working in the fashion industry for over 30 years, and launched her own bridal collection back in 1995, a brand that is still very much going strong.

Image: Clariscia Gill

In 2018, style goddess Gill runs her business from her London home, focusing on not just bridal but couture and ready-to-wear pieces.

Gill’s love of fashion and design comes from her mother. She grew up fascinated by watching her mother sew, and was given her own Singer sewing machine as a young child which only evoked her passion. After her mother passed away when she was just 10 years old, Gill became determined to make her mother proud.

Her talent was identified at an early age and she was encouraged to attend The London College of Fashion, where she honed her craft. She then began working for theatrical costumier Berman’s & Nathan making couture clothing for theatre, television, and film. Gill recalls sewing crystals onto a cape that was later worn by Christopher Reeve in the very first Superman film. 

Her most famous design is the reversible dress which can be worn two ways. On one side it can be worn in a plain block colour, such as black, but once reversed Gill’s incredible and detailed patterns can be seen. Her attention to detail and love for her craft is clear through her designs; she favours bright colours and intricate patterns choosing to design her dresses around different women and their shapes. She embraces her diverse roots through her designs, honouring her French Guianan mother through both colours and fabrics, making her couture personal to her. 

Image: Clariscia Gill

Spanning over three decades, her career has grown from strength to strength and resulted in her being recognised by HRH The Queen for her services and contribution to the British Fashion Industry.

On the 3rd November, Gill is set to showcase her designs in Spain at the very first Afro Kahlo Fusion Festival, a fashion, beauty and musical event inspired by Frida Kahlo. The festival will take place at the Wanda Stadium in Madrid, and Gill will be headlining.

The event was founded by blogger, model and writer Awanda Pérez who has launched the festival for women of colour in Spain, who are majorly underrepresented in the fashion and beauty industries. Spain is still far behind the UK in terms of clothing, hair care and beauty products which have been aimed and marketed towards women of colour. 

Gill is excited to showcase her work at the event which is honouring Kahlo. Kahlo’s influence on Gill’s designs is clear, something which she embraces whole-heartedly. She says, “‘I have chosen to rework some of my favourite CG Couture designs, which stood out over the past 20 years; it was quite uncanny that some items I saw in Kahlo’s clothing were like mine”.

It’s always worth celebrating when British designers start to get the recognition that they deserve. As a woman of colour in the fashion industry, where representation is still a huge issue, it’s important that events such as Afro Kahlo take place, and that incredible designers such as Clariscia Gill are honoured and recognised for their exceptional work.

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