London-based menswear designer Priya Ahluwalia is teaming up with Paul Smith as the first recipient of the brand’s ‘&PaulSmith’ mentorship programme, which aims to support creative people from a variety of fields from design to the culinary arts.
The initiative is supported by the Paul Smith Foundation and aims to offer a “fresh and authentic approach” to creative partnerships by connecting with “emerging and untapped talent in a collaborative mentorship programme to nurture the next generation of designers”.
As the inaugural recipient, Ahluwalia has teamed up with the veteran designer on an 11-piece limited-edition capsule collection that merges “creativity, innovation and sustainability,” explained both brands in a press release.
Commenting on the collaboration, Paul Smith said in a statement: “I had the pleasure of being introduced to Priya through a mutual friend and our shared approach to design was obvious from our first meeting.
“Her maverick spirit reminded me of myself when I was just starting out. While our styles may appear different at first glance, we’re coming at it from the same place: a real conviction that clothes should be a source of joy. This collaborative collection is proof of that.”
Paul Smith and Ahluwalia collaborate on a capsule collection
The collection represents a “meeting of two distinct creative minds,” combining distinctive codes and signatures from each designer. Such as Paul Smith’s check fabrics and Ahluwalia’s seaming and panelling techniques while taking inspiration from Smith’s collection of cycling jerseys and Ahluwalia's photographs taken in Nigeria and India.
The result is a collage-like effect, with styles including a colourful sporty-style jumper adorned with ‘A Brand New Day’ motif and edged with racing stripes, loose-leg check wool trousers and a matching work jacket, a mixed check fisherman hat, a vibrant zip cardigan with an all-over print with sleeve stripes and collar referencing cycle jerseys, and patchwork-style sweatpants, hoodies and sweatshirts.
Sustainability is also central to the collaboration, with the collection utilising surplus Paul Smith fabrics found in the designer’s archive, as well as sustainable alternatives where new cloths were developed, including 100 percent organic cotton and yarns, biodegradable Lenzing Ecovero viscose and surplus jersey and woven fabrics.
Ahluwalia added: “This collaboration is so special to me as it was born out of friendship and curiosity. A while back, Paul so kindly invited me to come and meet him and learn about how he works, and I was blown away by him and his treasure trove of an office.
“The collaboration conversation happened naturally, and it has been such a pleasure to work with Paul and the Paul Smith team. They have been so supportive, and I have learnt a great deal from them. The collection is a perfect mix of Paul Smith and Ahluwalia codes and I look forward to it being released.”
Ahluwalia &PaulSmith is available online at Paulsmith.com and in selected Paul Smith shops, as well as at Ahluwalia.world and Ssense. Prices range from 85 pounds to 700 pounds.