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Fashion

4.27.2016

Ashish Unveils A New Line of Tees That Mix Connect the Dots and Porn

Connect the dots, your favorite childhood pastime, just got kind of hot, thanks to Ahish Gupta.

The Delhi-born, London-based designer, who’s known for his handcrafted, striking and glistening, copiously sequined, and slightly sporty designs, just announced a new capsule collection, T’aint by Ashish. The first of four t-shirt collections, T’aint consists of seven tees, each bearing different line-drawn, salacious illustrations. And from the looks of it, there’s a T’aint Zine in the works too…

What might at first appear to be remarkably more pared down than Gupta’s usual aesthetic is actually just as detailed in concept as any other Ashish piece is in construction. These aren’t just another batch of lewd graphic tees; they’re minimal and interactive tees, featuring beautifully drawn, and seemingly unfinished, erotic illustrations. “The whole point of them is that you can customize them, you can join the dots yourself if you wanted to, you can color them in, do whatever you want to do, or you can just leave them as they are,” he told i-D.

Like an interrupted game of connect the raunchy dots, the illustrations—and, by extension, the tees—are at once modest and attention-grabbing. “I wanted to do something that was kind of explicit, but not explicit, so you have to stare at it for a little while to make out what is going on….there’s that slightly voyeuristic idea…It’s pretty explicit, but without it being in-your-face.”

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He’s explicitly licking something…though we can’t exactly figure out what.

It’s certainly not easy to strike such a balance, but may have been easier for Gupta given his Indian heritage. Born and raised in a country where it’s still illegal to be gay, Gupta must have learned at a young age how to tastefully explore the topics that were deemed “forbidden.” It’s certainly one of the reasons why he made the conscious decision to represent all sexualities and races in his new line. Among the seven illustrations is a disembodied male sucking on a conspicuously absent penis, and a disembodied depiction of doggy style (say that ten times fast). “I just wanted to make sure we did gay, we did straight, different skin colors, hair colors,” he said. I think the more people talk about sex and sexual things the better…I’m trying to make it less shocking for people, I just want to make it more out in the open.”

But releasing such a line has also taught him some hard-earned lessons about the seemingly modern and progressive world most of us live in today as well. Within 30 seconds of him uploading a photo to his new T’aint Instagram, the account was blocked. Apparently it had less to do with the erotic and suggestive illustrations, and more to do with Gupta hashtagging the word “porn.” Whatever the reason, it sparked an interesting conversation about what is and what isn’t “obscene”—and the detrimental effects this labeling could have on society.

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Connect the dots…if you dare.

Politically charged messages aside, the tees are mostly just a fun project for Gupta—and one that lets him use the word “taint” freely. “Taint is…the word you use for the area of skin between your arsehole and your balls, or vagina…The joke is, it ain’t balls and it ain’t arsehole…let’s call it T’aint!” And, well, we couldn’t agree more.

T’aint by Ashish will be available the first week of May, exclusively at VFiles.

Images via T’aint by Ashish.

Stay tuned to Milk for more salacious side projects. 

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