Ahluwalia’s Spring 2024 collection made a striking debut at the British Library, serving as a vibrant tribute to forgotten figures of art, music, culture, and social justice. Designer’s latest collection, “Acknowledgments,” inspired by The New York Times’ obituary series “Overlooked,”, delves into the stories of overlooked talents from diverse backgrounds, using her designs to give them the recognition they deserve. From the influence of Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine to her meaningful collaboration with Ace & Tate, this collection is a masterful blend of fashion, history, and culture.
Drawing inspiration from the colorful shades used by Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine, Ahluwalia adopted a palette of vibrant burnt orange, deep blues, leafy greens, and browns for her collection. The designs played with fun elements such as printed patchworks, soft silks, and denim that appeared to be ripped apart. Floral motifs, laser printed onto denim and jacquarded into knits, were scattered throughout the collection, hidden in secret spots or camouflaged with the buzzy colors. Tiny mirrors embroidered onto the fabric formed the shape of flowers, reflecting the designer’s thoughts about seeing oneself in garments and appreciating others.
The collaboration with eyewear brand Ace & Tate continued for a second season, featuring the letter “A” on the hinges of the glasses and an illusion print created from acetate for the frames. A big capital “A” for Ahluwalia was subtly incorporated into many prints and designs, ensuring that the designer herself will never be overlooked.
Ahluwalia’s commitment to sustainability and social justice was evident not only in the theme of the collection but also in her approach to fashion. She has been outspoken in criticizing companies for “green” policies that do not consider the treatment of people along the supply chain and has implemented sustainable practices in her own work. Moreover, Ahluwalia has expressed that she does not want to be pigeonholed as a sustainable designer but rather be judged on the merit of her fashion content.
The collection celebrated the lives of several overlooked figures, including African American jazz trumpeter Valaida Snow, Stonewall era drag artist and activist Marsha P. Johnson, and legendary Bollywood star Madhubala. The designer’s passion for telling untold stories, celebrating cultural histories, and making people and the planet better is what drives her. Ahluwalia believes that the world is her oyster and is determined to keep doing things that align with her values, even if she won the lottery tomorrow.
© Photos: Ahluwalia
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