3 designers , 3 challenges for the future
By: Chiara Figueroa
H&M Design Award 2019
Priya Ahluwalia graduated with a masters in Menswear from the University of Westminster in 2018 and was in the first ever cohort of the MA Menswear course. Ahluwalia’s graduate collection was showcased in a London Fashion Week: Men’s show and went on to receive industry-wide recognition, being featured in i-D, Vogue UK, Dazed & Confused, New York Times, More or Less and Niijournal among others.
In November 2018, Ahluwalia went on to win the H&M Design Award 2019 which was judged by Charlie Porter, Christiane Arp, Jan-Michael Quammie, Stefan Cooke and H&M’s creative advisors, Ann-Sophie Johansson and Margareta van de Bosch. She onvinced the judges mostly because of her sustainable approach, she works exclusively with vintage fabrics and uses second-hand clothing as the basis for her designs. It’s an issue that is becoming increasingly important to the fashion industry.
Through her newly established brand, “Ahluwalia Studio”, Priya takes elements from her dual Indian-Nigerian heritage and London roots and explores the life of second hand and dead stock clothing, using textile techniques to give them new life. Ahluwalia photographs her own research which is an integral part to her design process.
Upon graduating, Ahluwalia released a book called Sweet Lassi. Sweet Lassi focuses on a 2017 trip to visit family, in Lagos, Nigeria. The designer noticed people wearing obscure British clothing. For example, she noticed a trader wearing a London Marathon 2012 shirt. Ahluwalia dug deeper, moving forward on a hunch that the presence of these textiles heralded a larger story about second hand-clothing. Ahluwalia then visited Panipat, a city 90 north of Delhi, to photograph the global garment recycling capital of the world. The piles of clothing seen in her resultant images explore the zeitgeist in contemporary design, simultaneously harking to heritage and contemplating sustainability.
Ahluwalia Studio is a brand that focuses on creating unique forward-thinking garments for the modern man, using responsible sourcing and manufacture techniques.
CNMI Green Carpet Fashion Awards 2019
Precious fabrics, complemented by the highest quality in production techniques and tailoring craftsmanship, bear the hallmarks of a brand with a strong identity that is in tune with the needs of contemporary living, where creativity and luxury go hand-in-hand with respect of the environment. The result is a high-end prêt-à-porter brand with a “green” heart, where innovation meets the elegance and excellence typical of Made in Italy, against the prevailing tyranny of today’s fast fashion.
Born and raised in Milan, Gilberto Calzolari, son of a fabrics salesman and store manager for high-end boutiques, has breathed fashion since childhood, enthralled by the collections that walked the runway during the golden years of Italian ready-to-wear. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera, and began an impressive career in the fashion industry working for the most prestigious luxury brands in Italy.
In 2015, Calzolari decided to create his own brand, and registered his trademark. The logo – two intertwined ginkgo leaves around the initials GC, combining Japanese elements with an art nouveau-inspired emblem – mirrors his idea of style: a brand rooted in the Milanese tradition of luxury, and yet drawing inspiration from wide-ranging suggestions, in a contemporary aesthetic characterised by a mixture of opposites.
On the occasion of his first capsule collection entitled “My Arctic Heart” Gilberto Calzolari proudly supported Polar Bears International™, the world’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the worldwide conservation of the polar bear and its habitat, as a member of their Arctic Ally program.
His latest FW 2019-2020 collection, entitled “UNNATURAL” and presented as a special event in the official calendar of the Milano Fashion Week, with the support of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, represents at once the coherent development of a precise artistic path and an even more radical and surprising step forward, where the topics of environmental sustainability and respect for our planet are laid out in an extremely creative and original way. The collection has also been invited to walk the runway during the Montecarlo Fashion Week.
THEBE MAGUGU is a young designer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Originally from the small town of Kimberley, he moved to Johannesburg to study fashion design, fashion photography and fashion media from LISOF.
Kimberley-born designer Thebe Magugu has fetched fame and international acclaim by winning the prestigious fashion oriented 2019 LVMH-Prize which comes bolstered by $331, 000 in grant earnings and a year’s mentoring from the French luxury group’s specialists.
“Thebe stood out to the judges thanks to the originality of his use of cut, color and materials and the innate femininity of his easy-to-wear pieces,” said Delphine Arnault, the executive vice president of Louis Vuitton and the mastermind behind the prize. “He married creative flair with commercial intuition, and it was very impressive to see, despite the outstanding standard of the other finalists.
Inspiration for recent collections has included his mother as well as a series of highly publicized femicides that have taken place in South Africa in recent years. His spring 2019 collection, called African Studies, was a tribute to his home country.
The Johannesburg-based designer is creating clothes that have the power to shift global perceptions of South African identity. Magugu’s designs are presenting a fresh image of his home country: one that is joyful, progressive, and complex.
Speaking about the brand, the designer says, “together with our pillar values of quality, novelty and culture, we constantly seek new ways of presenting women with clothing that both complies with and enhances the everyday. Sleek, forward-looking design intersects with motifs from our continent’s storied past, providing smart, multifaceted clothes as valuable as their woman”.