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Queen’s award honors younger ‘agent for change’

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Written by Fiona Sinclair Scott, CNN

Rising British dressmaker Priya Ahluwalia, whose work is setting a brand new customary for moral vogue design, has received the celebrated Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.

The annual prize, now in its fourth 12 months, was introduced by the Queen’s daughter-in-law Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, throughout a digital occasion at London Trend Week on Tuesday.

An announcement issued by the British Trend Council (BFC), the group chargeable for working with the royal family to pick out a winner, known as the younger designer a “progressive pondering chief and agent for change.”

Ahluwalia launched her namesake model in 2018, having first attracted business consideration for her photobook “Candy Lassi.” The ebook, launched alongside a graduate assortment for her masters diploma in menswear, chronicled the designer’s eye-opening journeys to Nigeria and India, the place she witnessed the dimensions of the second-hand garment business and the quantity of waste clothes generated by customers.

Piles of clothing in Panipat photographed in 'Sweet Lassi'

Piles of clothes in Panipat photographed in ‘Candy Lassi’ Credit score: Priya Ahluwalia

In an interview with CNN final 12 months, the London-based designer, who’s of each Indian and Nigerian heritage, mentioned her curiosity in sustainable design was piqued throughout a visit to see household in Lagos. There, she seen market merchants carrying obscure objects of clothes from abroad, reminiscent of a T-shirt from the 2012 London Marathon.

“I used to be intrigued and dug deeper, shifting ahead on a hunch that the presence of those textiles heralded a bigger story,” she mentioned.

Her analysis led her to town of Panipat, north of Delhi, which serves as an enormous hub for garment recycling and is sometimes called the “cast-off capital” of the world. “I used to be fascinated and likewise apprehensive about how a lot we throw away,” Ahluwalia mentioned. “Visiting Panipat was life-changing and I made a decision to start out my model with sustainable rules.”

“Candy Lassi” paired pictures of individuals sitting amongst piles of previous clothes in recycling amenities with studio pictures of fashions carrying her personal avant-garde types.

Ahluwalia’s menswear makes use of classic and deadstock materials, mixing sportswear with extra classically tailor-made silhouettes. Her modern strategy has seen her win a number of notable awards in recent times, together with the H&M Design Prize in 2019. She was additionally one in all eight manufacturers to collectively win the celebrated LVMH Prize in 2020.

Ahluwalia Autumn-Winter 2020

Ahluwalia Autumn-Winter 2020 Credit score: Dominika Scheibinger

Images continues to play an essential position in Ahluwalia’s work, which melds conceptual design with narrative storytelling — usually with a eager deal with supplies and folks. “I really feel extra like a multidisciplinary inventive … I additionally like the concept of storytelling and making a world for anybody who’s ,” she mentioned.

Throughout London Trend Week final June, Ahluwalia printed one other ebook, “Jalebi,” which additionally drew on her personal heritage. Working with photographer Laurence Ellis, she put West London’s Punjabi neighborhood entrance and heart by documenting day by day life within the numerous Southall neighborhood. Based on Ahluwalia, whose mom is Punjabi, the ensuing pictures have been a tribute to multiculturalism in Britain.

“Brexit had simply occurred in addition to the Windrush scandal and there was an more and more hostile atmosphere for ethnic minorities,” she defined. “I wished to create a chunk of labor that celebrated the wonder in range.”

Still from Ahluwalia's digital exhibition and book 'Jalebi'

Nonetheless from Ahluwalia’s digital exhibition and ebook ‘Jalebi’ Credit score: Ahluwalia/Laurence Ellis

In Ahluwalia’s Autumn-Winter 2021 assortment, her newest sustainably made designs, created with a palette of wealthy brown shades and deep jewel tones, have been introduced within the type of a brief movie directed by Stephen Isaac Wilson on Saturday. In “Traces,” a solid of fashions transfer in mesmerizing synchrony, conjuring up pictures of — within the designer’s phrases — “migration, brotherhood and unity,” as they carry out choreography by Holly Blakey, set to a rating composed by musician Cktrl.
A look from Ahluwalia Autumn-Winter 2021

A glance from Ahluwalia Autumn-Winter 2021 Credit score: Laurence Ellis

The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design acknowledges the style business’s position in society and diplomacy. It honors younger designers whose work makes a constructive influence by means of sustainable practices or neighborhood engagement.

BFC chief govt Caroline Rush praised Ahluwalia’s efforts to present again to communities round London and overseas, calling her an “inspiration” to younger British designers.

Through the digital presentation of the award on Tuesday, Ahluwalia described the win as “surreal,” including “it is pretty to be acknowledged for doing one thing you like.”

Richard Quinn received the inaugural award in 2018, with the Queen making a shock look within the entrance row at his London Trend Week present to current the award. Rosh Mahtani, founder of knickknack model Alighieri, and dressmaker Bethany Williams are the prize’s different earlier winners.

London Trend Week runs Friday 19 to Tuesday 23 February, and is solely digital this season because of the ongoing pandemic.

(Prime picture: A portrait of Priya Ahluwalia by Laurence Ellis)

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