The Nigerian-Indian heritage of London-based menswear designer Priya Ahluwalia has done more than influence the direction of her eponymous label—it has informed the ethical way in which her collections are created. In her debut collection, which launched for SS19, Ahluwalia used secondhand garments reworked as menswear to illuminate the industry’s problem with waste. As minds awaken to the issues surrounding climate change, attitudes and trends are evolving to find new ways to live in a socially-conscious manner. Reusing unwanted materials is a common practice in the field of fashion; what is less common is designers using everything in their power to bring attention to, and minimize the effects of, the wasteful industry that they are part of. Ahluwalia is innovative in her approach for this reason: not just because of her technique and material choice, but also for her production methods, which she asserts are as important as individual purchasing choices. Ahluwalia uses inclusive practices where possible—the beading on her patchwork pants for example, was completed by Sewa Delhi, an organization that Ahluwalia says specializes in “getting rural Indian women into fairly paid work that fits around their family schedules”. We spoke to Ahluwalia from her home in London about what shocked her about the secondhand industry, being inspired by the way Indian men dress, and how the smells and sounds of Lagos and Delhi informed her concept for her first collection.
Courtesy of ignant