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Drapers 30 Under 30 2020: Priya Ahluwalia, creative director and founder, Ahluwalia

Age: 27

Known for her sustainable use of deadstock fabrics and innovative approach to tailoring, this menswear designer is one to watch.

In the past year alone, Priya Ahluwalia has won the prestigious H&M Design Award (previously won by 30 Under 30 2019 alumnus Richard Quinn), collaborated at Paris Fashion Week with sportswear giant Adidas on a range of footwear, launched a capsule collection with luxury retailer Browns and debuted at London Fashion Week Men’s. Stockists of her brand, Ahluwalia Studio, include Browns, Ssense and LN-CC.

All this was achieved while still fresh from studying for a master’s degree in menswear at the University of Westminster, from which she graduated in 2018.

It was while visiting family in Lagos, Nigeria, that Ahluwalia’s interest in deadstock and vintage fabrics was sparked, after she noticed a trader wearing a London Marathon 2012 T-shirt. She began digging into the second-hand clothing market, resulting in a trip to Panipat, India, which is a hub for textile recycling.

The mountains of discarded clothing she saw there inspired a limited edition photography book, Sweet Lassi, as well as her final graduate collection which featured repurposed fabrics.

Ahluwalia tells Drapers that her biggest career lesson to date has been juggling the complex set of skills needed to become a successful designer: “I’ve definitely learnt that, in order to run your own label, you need to be able to wear lots of different hats. One day I will be dealing with customs, another I will be visiting a vintage clothing warehouse. Rarely do I get to sit down and really focus on design.”

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