Priya Ahluwalia is a part of a class of designers who are pushing menswear forward today, along with others like Grace Wales Bonner, Bianca Saunders, and Martine Rose. Through Ahluwalia’s London roots and her Indian-Nigerian heritage, she finds inspiration to give vintage and surplus clothing a new life with textile and patchwork techniques. After kicking off the year by hosting her first independent fashion show in London, Ahluwalia is going strong by releasing a limited-edition collection in collaboration with Paul Smith.
Since launching her eponymous label in 2018, Ahluwalia has received prestigious design awards from H&M, Forbes, LVMH, GQ and the British Fashion Council, and is up for this year’s Woolmark Prize. Over the years, the talented designer also formed a friendship with Smith.
“This collaboration is so special to me as it was born out of friendship and curiosity,” Ahluwalia said in the press release. “A while back, Paul so kindly invited me to come and meet him and learn about how he works, and I was blown away by him and his treasure trove of an office. The collaboration conversation happened naturally, and it has been such a pleasure to work with Paul and the Paul Smith team. They have been so supportive, and I have learnt a great deal from them. The collection is a perfect mix of Paul Smith and Ahluwalia codes.”
Considering their friendship and Ahluwalia’s deniable talent, it was a no-brainer for Smith to tap Ahluwalia to be the first designer to experience Smith’s new mentorship program, &PaulSmith – backed by the Paul Smith Foundation to offer a fresh approach to work with emerging talent across industries.
“I had the pleasure of being introduced to Priya through a mutual friend and our shared approach to design was obvious from our first meeting” Smith said in the release. “Her maverick spirit reminded me of myself when I was just starting out. While our styles may appear different at first glance, we’re coming at it from the same place: a real conviction that clothes should be a source of joy. This collaborative collection is proof of that.”
Within the 11-piece collection, Smith’s love for sport and his distinctive checkered fabrics are combined with Ahluwalia’s patchwork and paneling techniques. As both designers value sustainable practices, they utilized surplus fabrics found in the Paul Smith archive, along with sustainable textiles such as organic cotton and biodegradable viscose.
Ahluwalia x &PaulSmith is available for purchase now on paulsmith.com and ahluwalia.world – shop our favorite pieces ahead.