Ashley Isham set up his own label "Ashley Isham" in 2000. In 2001, he also opened a boutique called Aquaint, hoping to "promote fashion talent and support other young designers", quoted from his website.
Though his applications for an "on-schedule" main show for the 2001 London Fashion Week were rejected, his breakthrough moment occurred at his well-received "off-schedule" presentation of his collection at his studio apartment in London. Attaining an "on-schedule" fashion show was significant because of the media attention that such shows receive, especially as Isham's collection was shown alongside those of international labels such as Paul Smith and Vivienne Westwood.
Since 2003, Isham's collections have been consistently featured in the London Fashion Week each year. The designer garnered international attention when Princess Zara Philips of the British royal family was photographed in his designs at the Ascot races. Shortly after, Isham was appointed as the official designer for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards of 2004.
Isham opened his first boutique, Aquaint, in London at Covent Garden in 2002 and his second boutique, Ashley, at Conduit Street in 2004. In June 2008, Isham launched his flagship boutique, Ashley Isham, at Singapore's Fullerton Hotel. Besides his boutiques, more than 20 exclusive shops around the world carry his designs.
Isham's works integrate feminine, well-draped cuts with Southeast Asian inspired motifs and detailing. Such Southeast Asian influences are retained in his collections because Isham feels the need to assert and be proud of his heritage as a Southeast Asian, especially when there are few designers from the region in London. His Spring-Summer 2006 collection, for instance, contained elements of Balinese art and Asian threadwork.
Angelina Jolie and Keira Knightley