Priya Ahluwalia, a master’s graduate from the University of Westminster, London, has been announced as the winner of the 2019 H&M Design Award. She will receive 50,000 euros (approximately 57,000 US dollars or 45,000 pounds) as an incentive to start her fashion career.
Now in its eighth year, the H&M Design Award aims to recognize and boost future fashion talents. This year’s contest received over 4,000 applications from both bachelor’s and master’s graduates from 42 selected design schools in 17 countries. Ahluwalia was chosen by an international jury that included Christiane Arp, editor-in-chief of German Vogue; last year’s H&M Design Award winner Stefan Cooke and Highsnobiety style director Jan-Michael Quammie, among others.
“Priya is unique, something very new and exciting. She is a designer marrying sustainability with wearability and fashion. Priya proves that forward-thinking fashion can be sustainable,” said Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s creative advisor, in a statement.
Inspired by her Nigerian and Indian heritage, Ahluwalia’s winning collection combined recycled materials and sustainable textile innovations to show the future of environmentally responsible fashion. “Priya was so passionate, with a story that resonates with so many different cultures and backgrounds. She can be a leader, showing the industry that fashion can both be beautiful and environmentally conscious”, commented Jan-Michael Quammie.
“I feel absolutely ecstatic. I never dreamed this could happen”, said the winner in the same statement, adding that the prize will take her a step forward in her goal of developing her ideas into a business with sustainability at its heart.
Other finalists include Bo Xu, from London College of Fashion; Bohyun Park, from SADI, South Korea; Erica Bergamaschi from Polimoda, Italy; Ervin Latimer from Aalto, Finland; Guusje de Bruin from Artez, Netherlands; Hannah Vanspauwen from KASK, Belgium; Paolina Russo from Central Saint Martins, UK; Rebecca Szmidt from La Cambre, Belgium and Regina Weber from Weissensee, Germany. Each of them won 5000 euro.
Pictures: courtesy of H&M