In addition to being a fashion designer, Paul Smith also has a foundation: The Paul Smith Foundation, to which he mentors designers. Jean Paul Gaultier is like this, and has tapped design talent to collaborate with for his couture collections. Understanding the importance of giving back, renowned designers as such knows that no one gets where they are in life without someone giving a person a chance. Smith has received help and mentorship over the years, so he loves to give back- he thrives on it. Smith and Priya Ahluwalia have just collaborated on a limited-edition capsule collection after both London-based designers have fostered a friendship.
If you’ve ever been in Smith’s presence you know how down-to-earth he is. He doesn’t seem to have an arrogant or selfish bone in his body, so it was a no brainer for him to support Ahluwalia. “Spurred by a shared passion for creativity, innovation and sustainability, the 11-piece limited-edition collection represents a meeting of two distinct creative minds,” states collection notes.
With the earth on their minds, the duo has centered the collection on sustainability. Delving into Smith’s archives, the collection is made from 100% organic cotton and yarns, biodegradable Lenzing Ecovero viscose and surplus jersey and woven fabrics.
“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,” says Paul from notes.
Ahluwalia combines elements that come from her native Indian-Nigerian heritage, as well as her London roots. Incorporating vintage surplus clothing, giving existing material a new life by using fabric and patchwork techniques, makes her truly a sustainable artist. Her unique pieces are inspired by art, music, and literature.
It’s a colorful collection inspired by Ahluwalia’s personal photographs from Nigeria and India, combined with Smith’s love of sport where you see references of vintage cycling. Other inspiration comes from album cover art from Studio One Records, and the work of Ikko Tanaka, a graphic designer- and Ernesto Cánovas, a multidisciplinary artist.
“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,” says Ahluwalia.
The collection will be available for purchase at paulsmith.com, and will be in select Paul Smith stores- and at ahluwalia.world and exclusively at SSENSE.