Priya Ahluwalia; Londoner by birth with an Indian mother and Nigerian father, fashion entrepreneur and completely exuberant, added to her already inspiring reputation in the fashion world today by reminding the world just how relevant upcycled fashion will always be in the fashion industry.
When we heard tales of her long body of textile waste research at the Westminster University last year, we expected to be impressed, but not too impressed to have us speechless.
A discovery in the streets of Lagos, far back in Nigeria; her fatherland, of the numerous dumping of western-used sportswear sprang this great quest. But of course it was supported by a second discovery in her motherland abou the existence of a method of systematic discrimination known as ‘Panipat’. Those words Panipat, meaning a ‘cast-off city’, was used to describe such a place where people are left to live among mountain ranges of trashed textiles.
In her own words; ‘she couldn’t forget it’. The thought tormented her, but at he time (2017), she was too tender in the fashion indusry to introduce unpopular trends or approaches, but Ahluwalia had to guide her own consideration of harnessing colonial slaves of the term ‘destruction’. This however proved to be great, as the necessary attention got to Ahluwalia, as her patchworked streetwear sourced from deadstockk materials became the new big enquiry in the fashion industry.
Whilst sewing, Ahluwalia admits the widely indian tradition of passing clothes down aided her keep the right perspective and expectations during the production process.
In her own words:
“My Indian grandad passed away but my nanna brought out his suit for me to see. It really was a bit too ’70s, so I adapted the pattern for the modern man,” she said. “I had thousands of vintage printed silk scarves leftover from last season, and obviously I never want to throw anything away, so I’ve patchworked them in. The suiting fabric is all deadstock.”
However, Vogue writer; Sarah Mower still believes history doesn’t get clothes sold. They must be appealing enough to attract purchase. Here are her exact words:
”The truth is, no amount of backstory or tales of traceability will sell clothes—they have to grab the heart, fit, and add to the sum general enjoyment in order to qualify as fashion that people actually want to buy. Priya Ahluwalia has cleared that hurdle easily—there is nothing niche about her style, and she spends far more time working on finding her materials than talking about it.”
We personally believe this practice is beautiful and should be imbibed in the industry by designers, especially because it saves the environment as well as ensure we manage waste efficiently, create value from the history of these textiles and ultimately turn the fashion world around yet again.