Priya Ahluwalia has released the lookbook for Ahluwalia’s AW21 menswear collection, shot by frequent collaborator Laurence Ellis, alongside a short film titled ‘Traces’.
The film, in collaboration with musician Cktrol and directed by Stephen Isaac-Wilson, captures “the spirit of brotherhood and unity seen in the garments”. It can also be felt through the synchronised choreography between the models.
For her collection, Priya was inspired by the 2016 novel ‘Home Going’, which tells the story of two Asante sisters in the 1700s separated at birth. This inspired the idea of migration as a societal process, which also inspired Priya to look at the Harlem Renaissance and the “notion of syncretism”. Priya goes on to discuss the idea of migration, noting the powerful influence that the past can have on us, by saying “It showed how we move around the world and that the things from the past always follow us around”.
Her inspirations can be seen through upcycled products, the idea of turning old into new plays into the designer’s idea of ancestry and heritage. This can be seen in the reversible puffer jacket which features contrasting textiles and additionally, the label’s signature patchwork button-up has been recreated with bamboo silk and deadstock shirting.
This is Ahluwalia’s biggest collection yet, allowing her to include and explore a broad range of menswear items. Straight legged cords are effortlessly paired with colour-blocked hoodies, each with large diagonal lines of colour intersecting through. This use of colour blocking and the different materials highlights the sportswear influence seen throughout the collection. One of the key features were the spray-painted white sneakers with Africa’s silhouette, paying homage to the designer’s Nigerian heritage.
The lookbook features models wearing shimmering blue makeup. The reoccurring blue theme stands out against the darker tones of the pieces. The colour blue is often associated with freedom and intuition. That is certainly true of this collection.
Many of the pieces feature bold colouring, in a sort of tie-dye fashion, with the colours bleeding into each other. This can be seen on the trousers and shorts shown, as well as a number of bandanas that were worn across the necks of the models.
This season also marked the debut of Ahluwalia’s new emblem. The compass-like insignia is made out of four afro-combs pointing to each of the four corners of the world and draws on the idea of universal symbolism.
By exploring the variety of menswear and all its categories, Ahluwalia’s FW21 collection is a refreshing take that looks not only to the past but the future of British menswear.
Check out the full film below.