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Sushila Pun

Sushila Pun’s practise focuses on identity perspectives in different cultures and societies.


Degree Details

School of Design


My work is based on the exploration of in-betweenness, the complex connections and emotional conflicts of dual identities in this modern age.

I have always experienced a sense of self-fragmentation and cultural division whilst growing up in the UK through my teen years. This has led me to investigate by way of myself and others what it means to be a foreigner who’s now accepting a foreign land as their own. Can one really become someone new or will the past always linger in our mind, soul and body? As I ask these questions, I look into masculinity and the men in my community to help me inspire my collection and create our own narration of love, acceptance, hope, and of the dreams that we carry into the future but reflect our past and live in the present.

Before starting to design my collection, I interviewed British-Nepalese boys and men who were very eager to participate in my documentation and we shared conversations about living in the UK with dual identities. This documentation process included the initial stage of photographing their clothing, observing their behaviour and asking detailed questions about their lifestyle and their past memories of living in the UK, about any challenges or obstacles they faced. Their stories and answers seep into different chapters of my collection which is divided as follows: Borders, Arrival, Re-birth and Masked.

My collection became a process of storytelling and image making, that really instigated the design development of the garments. The combination of dual elements, double meanings and multiple signs and symbols grace my clothes that reflect the conflict of being a foreigner. I explore these ideas deeply through surfaces: such as by burning away parts of cotton to achieve a devore effect, and other handmade techniques like knitted checks, painted words, dyeing and embroidery. I mainly use western silhouettes in combination with cultural garments to mix clean-cut details with handmade rough finishes and show the contrast of both cultures.

My work is emotional, modern, traditional, eclectic, extensive, clean, unrefined and embodied in more than just one sense of the word. My collection questions, narrates and ignites memories, emotions, conflicted identities and shared cultural meanings.

Campaign Shoot 1 — Model: Left - Sam Thapa / Right - Ribesh Ale

Shoot taken at 'Chatham, Kent' and 'Brecon, Wales' by the models themselves.
Models wearing outfit 3 and 4.
Outfit 3 - 100% Cotton Poplin shirt and trousers hand dyed in turmeric powder.
Outfit 4 - Silk Cotton burned pattern top and trousers with embroidery and hand painted prints.
editorialFashionfashion design



Scanned photograph over-layered with painted silk cotton fabric
This is Titled - 'The White Space'. An infinite space with no borders, a moment of crossing the borders between two countries.

design development

The developments include fitting images of scarf garment that is traditionally seen in south asian cultures and the garment of flag/veil suit outfit which shows the visualisation of the white space. Hand-painted words and Devore technique has been utilised on silk cotton fabrics to explore various textile surfaces.
A collaboration between Sushila from Fashion Design Menswear and Shipra Chandran from Knit Textiles. Collaboration explores the narrative of in-betweeness through knits with check patterns and words as a way to reflect on the loss and gain of cultures. The design developments of the knit textiles and the details of the garments provoke cultural feelings and internal conflict of dual identity. This is an ongoing investigation of our collaboration and we have documented some important developments in this video with audio recording from one of the participant talking about dual identity.

visual narrative

The developments explore two stories from the collection, 'Arrival' and 'Re-birth', showing the acceptance and loss of cultures through textiles and fabrics. The torn details and burned away parts all reflect the feeling of loss and show remaining imprints of details but also a negative space, an empty space that is carved out for the new beginnings to seep into the cracks.
This video contains one of the selected audio recording from one of the interviews that I conducted from the beginning of my final year of MA with British-Nepalese boys/men participants by enquiring them about 'in-betweenness' and dual identity whilst living in the UK. Chapter 3 Re-birth is the process of losing and gaining identity.

campaign shoot 2 — Model: Left - Ashish Rasaily / Right - Prasang Thapa

Shoot taken at 'Aldershot, Hampshire' and 'Maidstone, Kent' by the models themselves.
Models wearing outfit 1 and 2.
Outfit 1 - Military inspired top, trousers and suit with hand-painted details.
Outfit 2 - Mercerised Cotton knit top and white Gurkha style trousers.

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