Designer Osman Yousefzada has a wealth of experience in education. Having studied at SOAS before attending Central Saint Martins then Cambridge, Yousefzada's years spent at university gaining knowledge in anthropology, fashion and philosophy meant he was well equipped to tackle whatever career he wished to pursue. Ending up in fashion design - which only seemed like a natural path for the designer-artist with the Evening Standard reporting 'At ten years old, he could cut patterns, sew and even buy chiffon and haberdashery' - Yousefzada's clients have included Beyoncé, Thandie Newton, Emily Blunt, Lady Gaga and even an ex-Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown. Despite his colourful and unusual journey into the world of fashion, his experience as an award-winning designer and the unique path he took to get there, surprisingly isn't the subject of his new book, The Go-Between; instead, it's about the world he experienced before his career took off - a young migrant growing up in Birmingham.
From uncovering the universal migrant experience to living in 80s Britain (one that saw the appraisal of fascist-like ruling from then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher), it's these years that designer and artist Osman Yousefzada has decided to focus on, exploring 'the different between worlds' while learning how to find his own.
In this coming-of-age story, Yousefzada opens a window into a closed migrant community living in a red-light district on the wrong side of the tracks. The adult world is seen through the designer's eyes as a child: his own devout Pakistani/Afghan Pashtun community, with its divide between the world of men and women, living cheek-by-jowl with parallel migrant communities. The stories Osman tells, some fantastical, entertaining and humorous, others moving and harrowing, take us from the Birmingham of Osman's childhood to the banks of the river Kabul and the river Indus, and, eventually, to the London of his teenage years. Osman weaves in and out of these worlds, struggling with the dual burdens of racism and community expectations, as he is forced to realise it is no longer possible to exist in the spaces in between.