Ahluwalia wins BFC/GQ menswear prize on day Mulberry collab launches
It’s big day for Priya Ahluwalia. Not only has her collaboration with Mulberry just launched, but on Monday, it was revealed that she’s the winner of the 2021 BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund.
Ahluwalia will now receive a 12-month bespoke high-level business mentoring programme, pro-bono legal services and a £150,000 cash prize.
The BFC’s Chair of Menswear and Editor of British GQ, Dylan Jones, said that “she demonstrated perceptive design and business acumen, drawing on the contemporary sensibilities of the modern consumer, propelling her to the top of the talent pool. It was a unanimous decision from the judging committee.”
And BFC chief Caroline Rush added: “The judging committee was impressed with the quality of work, thought process and determination of the talented 2021 shortlist. Each designer has a bright future ahead of them. There can only be one winner and Priya proved to be the strongest candidate showing incredible creativity along with a business strategy that embodies the future of British fashion, with environmental and socially positive practices at the core of the brand. The committee is confident she will use the fund to her best advantage to propel and cement Ahluwalia on the global stage.”
This year’s shortlist also included Bethany Williams, Bianca Saunders, Feng Chen Wang, Nicholas Daley and Stefan Cooke. They all participated in a mentoring programme where both industry experts and judging committee members provided guidance on topics including, strategic planning, branding, leadership, commercial retail, e-tail and wholesale and digital innovation.
Meanwhile, Mulberry also said on Monday that the earlier-announced collab with a trio of designers to celebrate its 50th anniversary has seen its first fruits.
Mulberry x Ahluwalia saw her reimagining the Portobello Tote and an assortment of scarves in her signature vibrant aesthetic.
The limited-edition capsule focuses on the Portobello Tote, originally launched by Mulberry in 2019 as its first 100% sustainable leather bag.
The Mulberry x Ahluwalia capsule is made in its carbon-neutral Somerset Factories, using repurposed fabrics and leathers and the bags are created in limited quantities. The collection consists of four oversized Portobello Totes, five standard ones and three mini versions, the latter being a new size created especially for the collaboration. The bags are complemented by four 100% organic silk scarf designs, created in a 70x70 size so they can be worn as a bandana or headscarf.
The pieces were shown on Monday during London Fashion Week as part of Ahluwalia’s SS22 and womenswear debut. And the collaboration will be accompanied by a new film, Parts of Me, directed by BAFTA-nominated director Akinola Davies Jr, in an ode to the art of black hair as a symbol of identity, protest and self-expression.
The collection launches on Mulberry’s webstore on Monday and in stores globally from Tuesday.
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