London-based rising star Ahluwalia, who was just announced as the winner of the BFC/GQ designer menswear fund, has unveiled her first joint men’s and women’s collection during London Fashion Week.
In April, the designer debut her first womenswear range in collaboration with Ganni, opting then to rework deadstock fabric and leftover styles from the Danish label, for her spring/summer 2022 there was a confidence, mixing her menswear aesthethic with a feminine spin, which was further highlighted in her collaboration with British heritage brand Mulberry.
The spring/summer 2022 collection celebrates Afro-Caribbean hair’s artistry, symbolism, and rituals through braid inspired seam lines, prints and embroidery, which is showcased in the designer’s third short film, ‘Parts of Me’ directed by Akinola Davies Jr.
Ahluwalia is known for fusing her Indian-Nigerian dual heritage and London roots in her collections and the film explores the “transcendental embodiments surrounding Black and Brown hair” and its connection to identity, protest, and expression.
Ahluwalia SS22 inspired by artistry, rituals and symbolism of Black and Brown hair
Referencing sketchbooks Ahluwalia has been building upon for years, the collection looks to photography by J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, ‘90s music videos and vintage hair salon posters for inspiration. These elements were combined and became the starting point for a second graphic collaboration with Lagos-born British designer Dennis McInnes.
This is translated into the collection through prints, laser artwork details and embroidery badges in the shapes of 60s and 70’s Black liberation protest symbols of pride such as an Afro comb and braided hair silhouettes in a “summery yet earthy colour palette” of baby blue, beiges, and browns.
The brand’s debut womenswear built on the codes showcased in her collaboration with Ganni, with club-inspired silhouettes such as figure-hugging knitwear, sleek tailoring, mini-skirts, slip dresses, slinky silk separates, and an elegant trenchcoat.
Ahluwalia also highlighted her signature denim, graphic sportswear and tailoring, giving a “feminine spin” on the menswear with printed joggers, zip track-tops, jeans and suiting.
For the men, the collection offered Ahluwalia’s patchwork aesthetic and signature silhouettes with slim tailoring, retro tracksuits and polo shirts, incorporating braid inspired motifs and graphics through various textile techniques such as printing, dyeing, and embroidery.
The designer also added in the press release that the collection features vintage and deadstock fabrics.