Heritage label Mulberry has unveiled its collaboration with Ahluwalia in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
Marking a fresh collection packed with both cultural relevance and a progressive take on identity expression, Priya Ahluwalia has reenvisioned a series of classic accessories for its latest line-up of Mulberry Editions – a capsule which is punctuated by a vibrant series of the label’s signature kaleidoscopic clothing, in turn simultaneously showcasing Ahluwalia’s SS22 menswear collection.
Hero pieces include 12 reworked “Portobello” bags (including a new “Mini” size) and four specially designed silk scarves which have been specially created in a 70 x 70 dimension so they can be worn as a bandana or headscarf.
Unveiling the collaboration via a short film directed by BAFTA-nominated director Akinola Davies Jr., “Parts of Me” is Ahluwalia’s material exploration of her mixed Nigerian-Indian heritage – with Priya citing influences such as “Black and Brown hair as a means of identity, protest and expression… in both cultures.”
With each piece packing a cheerful punch of colour, pattern and layered shape, Ahluwalia has developed a wave print which represents the techniques of braided hair – echoed by the styled braids of the models and the braid-inspired seaming of the designs. With other reference points including the photography of J.D. Okhai Ojeiker, 90’s music videos and vintage hair salon posters, the capsule collection includes a series of political messages which reference the Black liberation movements of the 60’s and 1970’s and afro combs as a symbol of pride.
Credited for her dedication to sustainability, each piece honours Ahluwalia’s conscious approach, having been crafted in Mulberry’s carbon-neutral Somerset Factories and exclusively using repurposed materials.
Priya Ahluwalia, who has just been titled as winner of the 2021 BFC/GQ designer menswear fund, said of the collab: “Mulberry is a brand that I have memories of from childhood, ever since I used to borrow my Mum’s own Mulberry bag, so this was an opportunity to collaborate with a brand that is very meaningful to me”. Echoing this, the chief executive of Mulberry, Thierry Andretta, added: “We are thrilled to have collaborated with Priya as part of Mulberry Editions during our 50th anniversary year. Ahluwalia’s bold creative voice and her innovative approach to sustainability is entirely aligned with our Made to Last values and adds an exciting new chapter to our rich history of collaborations”.
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