Osman Yousefzada: 'Shades of unity in hope of a new brown and black coalition'

Designer and writer Osman Yousefzada’s jumpsuit for Beyoncé shot him to instant fame. But it’s being the son of Pakistani-Afghan migrants that shaped him most. Here, he describes his personal and political struggle against racism, and why ethnic solidarity is paramount

Don’t go to bed!” my PR messaged from LA. It was midnight in the UK and Beyoncé was about to step out wearing one of my designs at the 2013 Grammys. The image of Beyoncé in my jumpsuit was everywhere the next day. The phone calls and emails flooded in; there were interview requests and order inquiries. With just one appearance, Beyoncé had put my emerging fashion label on the map. My appointment book was filled back-to-back for the international buying season in Paris the following month. Armed with my latest collection in two gigantic wheelie suitcases, I passed through security screening for the Eurostar train. Snaking through the immigration queue, I stepped forward to the counter with my British Passport in hand…

Before I tell you any more, there are two things you need to know about me. The first is that I am the British-born son of Pakistani-Afghan immigrants who came to the UK seeking a better life for themselves and their children. The second is that my skin tone is brown – brown enough for people throughout the course of my life to hurl a variety of racial slurs at me.

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