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Intimate photos that spotlight London’s creative community

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Next week (June 7), London Fashion Week June will see the BFC take over the ICA for a celebration of the London-based cultures that help shape British fashion. Shining a spotlight on the diverse communities and individuals at the forefront of the scene today, the takeover centres on an exhibition of photography by Dani d’Ingeo, Stephen Akinyemi and Tami Aftab, built out into a full cultural programme by a panel of guest curators.

Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of LFW, the programme is selected by huge names from across London’s creative industries, including poet (and Dazed 100 alum) Kai-Isaiah Jamal, award-winning broadcaster Clara Amfo, and writer and speaker Simran Randhawa. Taking Black culture, South Asian culture, and queer culture as its three starting points, it will respectively explore themes of Black self-love; South Asian textiles and craftsmanship; and queer culture, with a focus on young voices from the trans community.

Rooted in London, these intimate stories will be traced outward to follow their global impact, often catalysed by events like LFW, and the rich international histories that they’re built upon. Aftab’s vivid photos, for example, “highlight the profound impact that South Asian fabric had, and continues to make, on British fashion,” note the exhibition’s organisers. “Whether it’s tie-dye, embroidery, colour-dyed cotton, paisleys or silk, we see textiles from South Asia in all aspects of the British fashion industry. This photo project joyfully celebrates these fabrics and the cultural relevance they hold both historically, with roots often buried by colonialism, and personally, as a connection to culture within the diaspora.”

A series of photographs by Dani d’Ingeo titled On Inès, meanwhile, takes a more concentrated look at the practice of painter Inès Michelotto, following her around her studio and home. “The images highlight the emotional resonance Inès shares with her subjects,” says curator Nimco Kulmiye Hussein of the work. “Her lived experience as a trans woman is central to how she sees the world – her brushstrokes are gentle on the canvas, and her paintings timestamp the existence of the people around her… On Inès celebrates the bonds that fuel the most profound exploration of our queer identities and the cultural changes they inspire.”

Rounding out the exhibition is Akinyemi’s Where the he.art is. “The black experience is one of abundance and nothing but monolithic through the lens of Stephen Akinyemi,” says the curators of the series, which celebrates the beauty of individuality and self-care as it relates to Black identity, and how this is woven into Britain’s cultural fabric. “It is necessary to protect and amplify this work,” they add, “as while history has shown us that these contributions can be misappropriated, we also know the life changing impact that comes with telling our stories through garments, sound and photography and the importance of passing this on to the future generations.” 

“Providing a moment to celebrate our community and tell our story is crucial. This is a love letter to our imagination, our raising up of one another and the powerful way if manifests itself.”

The exhibition of Dani d’Ingeo, Stephen Akinyemi and Tami Aftab’s work, in collaboration with the British Fashion Council, will run at the ICA from June 7 to June 9.

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