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Reveries Tells The Story Of Priya Ahluwalia’s Folkloric Beginnings

20 February 2024

Priya Ahluwalia’s is determined not to be characterised only as a sustainable designer. She wants to be recognised as a successful one too. 

Since 2018, Ahluwalia has strived to commemorate ethical design practices and start more conversations about material influences. Inspired by her dual Indian and Nigerian nationalities, she draws upon previous generational knowledge and initiates an inter-generational, geographical and cultural discourse. Although she’s a trailblazer for broader cultural recognition in the fashion world, she’s got collections with fashion OGs like GANNI and Paul Smith to prove she really knows what she’s doing.

While this Westminster University graduate is best-known for her use of colour and print, her Fall/Winter 2024 collection, titled Reveries, was stripped back, favouring more theatrical, muted eventwear. We can look at these designs in the context of ‘wearable storytelling’, imagining them as pivotal cultural characters in passed-down fables. 

Ahluwalia has brought these characters into the twenty-first century with a visual manifestation of the folklore tales she grew up with. Her dramatic opening look, perhaps personifying an animal-like being, features a dramatic black one-shoulder evening dress with a jewel and pearl-encrusted sash hugging the model’s svelte physique. The second look includes a well-tailored black velour jacket with a striking ‘A’ (for Aluhwalia, obviously) encrusted on the right shoulder. 

Ahluwalia’s ‘Waste Not’ approach to design is steadfast, and this collection is no different. Throughout the thirty-three looks, Ahluwalia stands by the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. There are upcycled Levi’s in the form of a two-piece boiler set (look 15), complete with a sari-esque fabric draping and large floral headpiece. Additionally, there was a menswear style (look 17) with psychedelic patch-worked jeans that hinted at the accumulation of knowledge required by Ahluwalia's multicultural upbringing. The use of recycled fabrics didn’t sacrifice Aluhwalia’s personal flair: a common diamond motif graced several looks, including a super chic halter denim minidress (look 18), which was paired with black biker boots and tights. 

Ahluwalia shows her solidarity with ethically and culturally informed design by inviting us into her own fairytale. Her consistent use of motifs acts as nuanced reminders of her journey into the fashion world, as if morals were subtly embedded within cherished folkloric texts. 

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SEE ISSUE #06 HERE. The theme for this issue, Revelations, delves into the unfiltered aspects of life. It’s an appreciation and exploration of raw beauty, where authenticity reigns supreme; the unconventional is not just accepted but celebrated. In a world of manufactured perfection, this issue chooses to validate our quirks and idiosyncrasies. After all, they are what make us inimitable.

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