For the final FashMash Pioneers interview of the year, we sat down with Priya Ahluwalia, founder and creative director of her eponymous brand Ahluwalia.
Priya Ahluwalia joined FashMash to talk about driving change - both through representation and through focusing on sustainable and circular fashion solutions. Read on for some of the highlights:
ON HIRING DIVERSE TALENT
“The thing for me is that the talent is out there, it’s just are people choosing to hire people from diverse backgrounds?… A lot of what we see is virtue signalling, like putting people in campaigns and in shows, but when you look at their in-house team, there is no one [of colour] in that room or it's really not a diverse team at all. And I think that again, the talent is out there so there's no excuse for it. And that's really just the truth.”
ON ROLE MODELS
“Representation really matters because it is good for self-esteem. If people see people like themselves reflected back in the places and positions and things that they want to do, it's easier to be like, ‘great, I'm going to do it too’. I think when I was a teenager there weren’t really any black or brown fashion designers in western fashion… and the idea that I would be a designer on a fashion week schedule was not that obvious. It didn't seem like something that would be that achievable… I think that representation is vital and it definitely wasn't enough of it when I was coming up through the ranks. I guess for people now there's definitely more visibility, but it doesn't mean that we can't still improve.”
ON INHERENT SUSTAINABILITY
“I'm trying to show that we can do fashion in a different way, right? Like the mission of my brand is to design, innovate and create whilst driving social and environmental change. So my first priority as a creative director and designer and film director is to create our fashion film that inspires people and makes people feel happy and good, and create products that people want to keep for a lifetime. That's like my first priority. My tactic is to do that in a way that is least problematic for the planet and for people.”
FashMash Pioneers is sponsored by Klaviyo.