A WOKING designer has shown her collection at London Fashion Week for the fourth year in a row with outfits celebrating life after the pandemic.

Vaishali Ragunathan, who owns the couture label Vz Perfection, made her debut at the prestigious showcase in 2019 after being invited by her former tutor at Guildford College.

She has been invited back every year since and recently showed her “Iridescence” collection for spring/summer 2023 at London Fashion Week.

Vaishali said she started work on the designs in July and made them bright and colourful and used the fact that the Pantone colour for next year is lavender purple.

“I thought ‘we’ve been through enough’ and 2023 has to celebrate life again,” she said.

“It’s been so dull, so I thought, ‘why go greys and navys, why not go “in your face” with colour?’ That is why my hair colour is also pink at the moment,” Vaishali said.

The fabrics include ombred tulle, meaning the colours fade into each other, in this case from pinks to purples and then to pinks again.

Vaishali said the fact that she has shown at London Fashion Week four years in a row hasn’t made it any easier.

“It was as nerve-wracking as the first time.

“You lose sleep; you get anxious; in fact, the pressure has increased because expectations are high. The audience want me to come up with something new and different that they haven’t seen before.”

Vaishali said the competition this year was particularly high because, during COVID, a lot of new designers appeared.

“During lockdown, people started making and creating, and new techniques are coming in, such as using artificial intelligence in designing.

I thought I was upping the game by bringing in digital printing but that’s passé now.

“Next year I would love to collaborate with somebody who creates something with artificial intelligence.”

Vaishali said that, as well as embracing the latest techniques, young people are changing the fashion world by emphasising sustainability.

“People are respecting and appreciating clothing more and wanting to work with and wear natural fibres that have longevity and move away from polyester because it’s not good for the environment.”

Vaishali said her collection at London Fashion Week got a very good reception and was the perfect launchpad for spring/summer next year.

“Now the real work begins, and more so this year, because the platform is huge and I want to make the best of it.

“I want to go out there and tell people about my work more.”

In the immediate future, Vaishali is having a pop-up show of her collection at the Guildhall in Guildford town centre on Saturday (1 October) from 10am to 5pm.

For many years, Vaishali had a shop in Woking and a stall at the market, but now has a thriving website and meets clients at her home in Bracknell by appointment.

The former Woking resident holds displays at David Lloyd, next to the Kingfield football stadium, and is hoping to work with a local charity.

In 2011 she held a big fashion show at a hotel in the town centre for Walk the Walk, the Woking-based breast cancer charity.

In the next six to eight months, Vaishali is hoping to put on a show in aid of The Lighthouse, which hosts a range of community projects to support those in need, including the Woking Foodbank and the Jigsaw baby bank.

In June this year The Lighthouse received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest honour given to a local voluntary group in the UK and the equivalent of an MBE.

“We built up a relationship in lockdown; they are lovely people,” Vaishali said. “Their causes are amazing and they are very much community based, which is where my heart is.”