When designer Priya Ahluwalia walked into the costume rehearsal of her autumn/winter 2023 London Vogue Week present in February, she couldn’t cease crying.
Titled Symphony, the present was staged at a previously baroque church corridor, with fashions strolling to jazz-infused renditions performed by pianist Insxght and saxophonist Solaariss.
“I used to be just so emotional,” the 30-year-old founder and inventive director of Ahluwalia says. “It was just like the end result of a massive deep dive coming collectively. That’s how I felt.”
Ahluwalia rediscovered the music of her youth when designing the gathering. “I don’t love to do issues in an apparent manner,” Ahluwalia admits. “As life adjustments, you take heed to various things at totally different phases, so I assumed in regards to the visuals of what music feels like when designing Symphony.
“I Will All the time Love You by Whitney Houston was on the radio once I was born. So my mum finds that tune actually particular and performed it to me a lot. Sade’s Kiss Of Life was fairly informative, and 50 Cent was additionally in there too. I keep in mind getting certainly one of his albums once I was 10 and considering it was phenomenal. I additionally thought a lot about Prince, Queen, Freddie Mercury and even conventional Punjabi music.”
Sound waves and musical notes impressed the lasered print on denim, jacquard patterns on mohair knitwear and monitor tops with accompanying shorts. Earthy shadows, reds and ochres have been taken from the colors of album covers and illuminated cotton separates.
Ahluwalia launched her eponymous style label in 2018 after graduating from the MA Menswear course on the College of Westminster, combining her twin Indian-Nigerian heritage and London roots, whereas additionally exploring the potential of classic and surplus clothes.
Round that point, Ahluwalia visited her father in Nigeria and says she observed “hawkers” carrying secondhand clothes from the UK. “I used to be actually confused and began to ask questions on it,” she says – and it led to the publishing of her first ebook, Candy Lassi, exploring the secondhand clothes trade within the International South.
“Discovering methods for individuals to cherish their clothes ceaselessly has all the time been essential to me,” Ahluwalia says. “Microsoft and I labored on a platform referred to as Flow into in 2021, the place we use AI to crowdsource and categorise individuals’s undesirable clothes. However now, I believe shoppers actually see the worth in studying in regards to the issues that occur behind the scenes of the garments they’re buying.”
It’s why particular person clothes from the Symphony assortment function Digital ID know-how — created and related by the EON Product Cloud platform, powered by Microsoft Azure. Ahluwalia clients can scan with their cell phones to find their merchandise’s distinctive story, together with the design inspiration, manufacturing processes and origins of the sourced supplies, serving to shoppers higher perceive how their garments might be resold, reused and recycled.
“This offers us the chance to actually share unique content material and details about a product. As a up to date luxurious model promoting objects which might be round £400, it’s essential to offer our clients with more worth and share the tales behind their garments, while encouraging them to have interaction with sustainability.”
However Ahluwalia doesn’t wish to be pigeonholed as a sustainable designer. “I’m so much more than making the appropriate decisions,” she says. “I’m a designer in the beginning, who can be a inventive director, filmmaker of Pleasure and Beloved, who works sustainably to discover and redefine the inherent fantastic thing about blackness [and brownness] via an genuine lens.
“The imaginative and prescient is that in the future somebody can be sitting on Ahluwalia of their entrance room, watching it, carrying it, smelling it and consuming it. A complete 360. I’d love Ahluwalia to be an instance of how concepts that aren’t so rooted in Eurocentric values are expandable and superb on a international stage for individuals to work together with in a international sense, like we see with many conventional European [fashion] homes.”
So what’s subsequent for the style home?
“We’re doing a present at London Vogue Week in September, however I can’t inform you something about it. The one factor that I can inform you is that we’re holding the present on the British Library, which I’m actually enthusiastic about.”
Uncover more about Ahluwalia’s partnership with Microsoft and EON right here: Ahluwalia Symphony Unlocked | Microsoft Unlocked.