Priya Ahluwalia, who graduated from the Menswear MA course, has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design for her namesake fashion brand 'Ahluwalia'.
Priya Ahluwalia is the fourth recipient of the award, which was presented virtually by the Countess of Wessex on behalf of the Queen as part of London Fashion Week.
Ahluwalia crafted her menswear collection from vintage and dead stock material, which received top reviews from the likes of Vogue, Dazed and WWD. The Queen instated the Award in 2018 to commend talented emerging designers who show “exceptional talent and originality, whilst demonstrating value to the community and/or strong sustainable policies”. Ahluwalia was presented the award for her “active contribution to changing the industry for the better”.
The winner of the award also receives a trophy for their achievements, which is created by the Queen’s designer Angela Kelly. Each year, this is presented by senior female members of the royal family.
The award follows an extensive list of achievements for Ahluwalia, including being chosen as one of the eight brands to win the LVMH Prize in 2020, being named in Forbes Magazine’s 30 under 30 list for 2020 and winning the H&M Design Awards in 2019.
Priya’s namesake menswear brand draws inspiration from her Indian-Nigerian heritage by repurposing vintage materials in factories that employ rural women and pay them fairly, and she explores the potential of vintage and dead stock clothing, giving existing textiles a new life. She has shown at London Fashion Week Men’s since 2018, and her stockists include SSENSE, Browns and Matches.
Talking about Ahluwalia’s achievement, Professor Andrew Groves, Professor of Fashion Design, said: “It is an incredible testament to her talent that although Priya only graduated from Westminster in July 2018 and yet has already won the H&M Design Award in 2019, the LVMH prize in 2020, and now the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.
“The integrity of her research has enabled her to develop responsible sourcing and manufacturing techniques that are intrinsic to her design approach. In turn, this has led to outcomes in film, photography, and fashion that have further enriched Priya’s work. She is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting designers of her generation, and we are fortunate to have several examples of her work within the Westminster Menswear Archive to inspire the next generation of designers.
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