One book that particularly made an impact on her – and became the inspiration for her latest collection was ‘Home Going’, By Yaa Gyasi. The book depicts the moving tale of two sisters born in the 1700s and separated at birth. The story follows the generations of both sister’s families throughout the years, noting the powerful influence which past experiences of our ancestors can have on our lives. “It showed how we move around the world and that the things from the past always follow us around,” Designer Priya says.
The strong impression from the pages spurred Priya into looking at migration as a societal process that leads to new ideas and new schools of thought, with the ‘Harlem Renaissance’ as the prime example reflected in the way she designed her AW21 collection.
The notion of syncretism – a merging of different elements – has always been at the core of Ahluwalia since its inception through upcycling. This season, it’s taken to the next level through the hybridisation of the garments, as puffer jackets become reversible and contrasting textiles combine into one. The label’s signature patchwork button-ups bring together bamboo silk with deadstock shirting, while the graphic jumpers are made in a mix of repurposed knit and sweatshirt fabrics.
The AW21 collection delves into both the formal and casual aspects of clothing, and also offers pieces for a variety of weather conditions, as Priya notes; “The uncertainty in the world has made me think way outside of the circle of boundaries of what I know and to consider what’s going on everywhere, and not just around me.”
This season’s collection also marks the debut of Ahluwalia’s new emblem which has universal symbolism, transcending place or time – a compass-like insignia made out of four afro-combs pointing to each of the four corners of the world.