Priya Ahluwalia, a London-based designer of menswear, has joined forces with Paul Smith to become the first recipient of the brand’s mentorship program &PaulSmith. This program supports creative people in a range of fields including design and the culinary arts.
Paul Smith Foundation supports the initiative. It aims to provide a “fresh approach” to creative partnerships through the connection with “emerging talent” in a mentorship program to foster the next generation of designers.
Ahluwalia was the inaugural recipient. She has collaborated with the veteran designer to create an 11-piece capsule collection that combines “creativity innovation and sustainability,” according to a press release.
Paul Smith commented on the collaboration by releasing the following statement. “I had the pleasure to be introduced to Priya by a mutual friend, and our shared approach towards design was evident from our first meeting.”
“Her maverick spirit reminded of me when I was just starting my career. Although our styles might look different, they are actually coming from the same place: a conviction that clothes should bring joy. This collaboration collection is proof of this.”
Ahluwalia and Paul Smith collaborate to create a capsule collection
This collection is a “meeting between two distinct creative minds”, combining distinctive codes from both designers. Paul Smith’s check fabrics, Ahluwalia’s seaming techniques and paneling techniques are just a few examples. Ahluwalia also draws inspiration from Smith’s collection of cycling jerseys as well as Ahluwalia’s photographs taken in India and Nigeria.
It creates a collage-like effect with styles such as a sporty-style jumper with a ‘A Brand New Day’ motif, edged with racing stripes, loose leg check wool trousers, and a matching jacket, a mixed-check fisherman hat, and a vibrant zip cardigan featuring an all-over printed with sleeve stripes. The collar refers to cycle jerseys.
The collaboration is also about sustainability. The collection uses surplus Paul Smith fabrics from the designer’s archives as well as sustainable options where new cloths are developed. These include 100 percent organic cotton, yarns, biodegradable Lenzing Ecovero Viscose, surplus jersey, and woven fabrics.
Ahluwalia said: “This collaboration feels so special to me because it was born from friendship and curiosity. Paul invited me to meet him and learn more about his work. I was overwhelmed by Paul’s office and the treasure trove that he has.”
“The collaboration conversation occurred naturally and it was such a pleasure working with Paul Smith and his team. They have been very supportive and I have learned a lot from them. It is a wonderful mix of Ahluwalia and Paul Smith codes. I am looking forward to its release.”
Ahluwalia &PaulSmith are available online at Paulsmith.com, in select Paul Smith shops as well as Ahluwalia.world or Ssense. Prices range from 85 to 700 pounds.