• Shona Moran

ASAI Supports Black Lives Matter With Iconic 'Hot Wok' Dress

Race has been a longstanding issue in the fashion industry, and now more than ever, people are calling to the fashion industry to voice their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The issue is that ‘diversity’ has become a buzzword of sorts; people want to see real inclusivity and consolidation within the world of fashion – an industry that benefits enormously from black culture. It is about time we see more representation within all aspects of the fashion industry, more black models on runways during Fashion Weeks, and black influencers getting brand deals that extend beyond mere tokenism.

Most fashion houses have been criticised for remaining silent or being disingenuously vague in their support of the Black Lives Matter movement, following George Floyd's death and the international protests that have taken over cities across the world as a result. However, there are a few notable independent designers who have pledged their support to the movementthrough spreading awareness, sharing important resources, donating, and even launching charitable products.

A designer that is using his platform to push for change, both in fashion and beyond is A Sai Ta of ASAI, a British-Chinese-Vietnamese Central Saint Martins graduate and Fashion East alumni. ASAI is known for its cult ‘Hot Wok’ tops and dresses, which have flooded Instagram in a frenzy of rainbow waves since the style’s release. The ‘Hot Wok’ collection is easily identifiable from its staple sheer, tie-dyed fitted fabric with multi-coloured patchwork designs, connected by curly lettuce hems.

A Sai Ta has dedicated his brand's Instagram feed to anti-racism advocacy, making his stance clear concerning the injustices faced by black people, and using his platform within the industry to politicise fashion and to ignite change. The designer has announced that he will be producing the Rihanna-approved ‘Hot Wok’ piece and that all profits from its sales will be donated to three charity organisations (priced at £300 GBP). As worn by Rihanna in the slow-mo video that took the internet by storm last year, the hot pink asymmetric dress is a signature offering and a certified Instagram staple. Before this initiative, only Ta and Rihanna owned the iconic ASAI dress; as its designer, Ta is capitalising on the success of his ‘Hot Wok’ collection to actively support groups of people who will profit from this offering significantly.

Those benefiting from its sale are Black Lives Matter, which, especially now needs support to fight for freedom, liberation and justice – against the systematic racism faced by black people, Solace Women’s Aid, which supports women and children subjected to abuse and violence, and The Voice of Domestic Workers, which calls for justice and rights for the UK’s 16,000 migrant domestic workers.

In another Instagram post, the designer asserts that his activism is not temporary – "Moving forward everything I create a percentage will be donated to Black Lives Matter". Ta is not only committed to financially aiding the movement, but he is also dedicated to spreading awareness, which, for the most part, has been absent from the fashion industry so far.

If, like many of us, you have probably been doing a bit too much online shopping throughout this period of isolation, then now is a great time to support a designer who is using both his skill and platform to push for change.

While there are so many ways to get involved and help the Black Lives Matter movement, even if you don't have the resources to donate or purchase charitable products. A Sai Ta of ASAI's efforts are rare in the world of fashion, and through this offering, he has shown commitment to redefining the industry.

Head to ASAI's Instagram for details on purchasing the dress.

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