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Celebrating the Windrush Generation at Graduate Fashion Week


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Windrush has been in the media for all the wrong reasons recently - but for Graduate Fashion Week one student is flipping things on their head and making a collection inspired by her heritage.
For those who aren’t completely versed on Windrush, here’s some background for you. The Windrush generation was the generation of people who travelled from the Caribbean to the UK in 1948 and afterwards. The name comes from the boat that they travelled on, The Empire Windrush, which first docked in Tilbury in 1948. 
Windrush was back in news recently after a Guardian investigation revealed that the UK Home Office had been grossly ill-treating the Windrush generation for a number of years, in some cases forcing them out of work and deporting them. The scandal led to the high-profile resignation of Home Secretary Amber Rudd. 
But out of the darkness of this scandal has come a ray of light, in the form of student Tihara Smith. Tihara, 21, is a fashion student at the University for the Creative Arts. Showing at Graduate Fashion Week 2018, Tihara's collection takes inspiration from her grandfather - who arrived in the UK as part of the Windrush generation in the 1950s.
Tihara is a third generation Windrush, and she’s owning it. How proud she is of her heritage is made clear through her stunning work, which takes inspiration from the black experience documented by photographers in the 1940s when generation Windrush first came to the UK.
Her work is heavily influenced by the bright colours of the Caribbean, where her grandfather comes from originally, with bright embroidery being one of the main themes of her collection. She uses raffia and weaves pictures of fruits and birds that are native to the Caribbean onto her garments.
Her work also echoes the beautiful and colourful architecture of the Caribbean islands, paying a true homage to the home of her grandfather.
Tihara also posts inspiration pictures, and drawings onto her Instagram account, which offer an insight into her creative process.

A post shared by Tihara Smith (@tiharasmith) on

Tihara is a young designer to watch: she's already won countless accolades, including the Southwark & Lambeth Excellence in Educations Awards. She has also been nominated for the David Band Textile Award at Graduate Fashion Week 2018, and named a FAD Fashion Futures finalist. 
Tihara's incredible final collection will hit the catwalk at Graduate Fashion Week, on the 5th of June. 
Graduate Fashion Week 2018 is taking place at the Old Truman Brewery between 3rd and 6th June.

The National Student will be reporting from the event daily - see all our coverage here. 

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