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Ahluwalia Studio – Finding the present in the past

June 15, 2019

Fashion | by Ross Pollard


Ross Pollard, Candid’s Fashion & Grooming Editor, takes us through the spring/summer 2020 season from Ahluwalia Studio.

What is identity? It’s a concept we all circle around, explore and spend a lifetime trying to understand. Identity is more than just who we are; it’s our family, where we come from, our experiences, our thoughts and the way we deliver the most personal artistic performance concept of all – our own lives.

The collection Priya Ahluwalia presented in the British Fashion Council’s Discovery Lab at London Fashion Week Men’s was a delve into who she is and how she came to be the person she is in this moment.

The references of family, not just her immediate family, but the extended one that surrounds her, is represented in the historic notes of the tailoring of her grandparent’s clothes, through to the pieces the family borrow from each other and into the imagery used.

A kaleidoscopic family album

It’s a family album run through a chopper, poured into a kaleidoscope and turned and stared at until the looks rise to the front.

But this isn’t just about those around her. The garage scene that was part of her own life is represented, tying back into the collective memories that each look is drawn from – Day-Glo notes and further notes of days past.

Playing with references is an art. Without a sharp mind, a good eye, and a deft hand it could all unravel so quickly, but Ahluwalia fuses and welds the parts together into a colourful explosion which mirrors the chaotic joy of bringing generations together at a family reunion.

Comfort in recognisable shapes

The familiar shapes of the garments provide a comfort in their recognisable forms, jarred against the collage-style gathering of pieces of fabric, the riot of colour and the mix of cultures.

This is a stunning reflection of the old against the new, looking at the generational cracks and using thread to stitch them together.

Seeing it made me as happy as a family memory of my own, all of us round the table on a Sunday, fighting with various family members for the last spoon of my mum’s cauliflower cheese, and just like that empty dish of my family legend I hope there’s a lot more of this to come from Ahluwalia Studio.

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