In what is a significant addition to mark Mulberry’s 50th anniversary celebrations, the brand has tapped Nigerian-Indian designer Priya Ahluwalia to create a one-of-a-kind capsule collection. The artful merger between the two brands is a tribute to Black hair, in line with Ahluwalia’s inherent philosophy of uplifting marginalised cultures and communities. With pieces in the collection mirroring an embroidered Afro comb, intricate braiding techniques and cornrows (the latter seen in patchwork prints and delicate stitching).
Thierry Andretta, Mulberry’s CEO, said in a statement,"Ahluwalia's bold creative voice and her innovative approach to sustainability is entirely aligned with our 'Made to Last' values and adds an exciting new chapter to our rich history of collaborations.” Ahluwalia was particularly inspired by cultural icons of her youth, from Missy Elliott and Aaliyah to vintage barber shop aesthetics, to help transform Mulberry’s iconic Portobello bag (complemented by four 100% organic silk scarf designs, specially created so they can be worn as a bandana or headscarf). Ahluwalia’s motivation to celebrate the artistry, rituals and symbolism of Afro-Caribbean hair come not only from Priya’s own childhood in Nigeria, but also her ethos of representing those who ordinarily do not feel seen in fashion.
“Mulberry is a brand that I have memories of from childhood, ever since I used to borrow my Mum’s own Mulberry bag, so this was an opportunity to collaborate with a brand that is very meaningful to me,” the designer adds. “I haven’t yet had a chance to make accessories and I think with Mulberry x Ahluwalia, we’ve brought together our mutual values to create beautiful pieces that people can buy and cherish forever”.
Ahluwalia, who founded her eponymous brand in 2018 after graduating from the MA Menswear course at The University of Westminster, has been a force for change in the British fashion industry the last few years; inspired by her roots she periodically incorporates multiculturalism and environmentally conscious elements to her playful and bold designs.
This new collaboration is accompanied by a film, Parts of Me, directed by BAFTA-nominated director Akinola Davies Jr., which aired recently for London Fashion Week. Speaking to British Vogue she shared her desire for the collection and film to help deepen the conversation around pride and beauty in Black hair: “I hope people who have insecurities about having Afro-Carribean hair, or not having Eurocentric or white hair, get a drop of confidence or feel special or celebrated.”
The Mulberry x Ahluwalia collection launches on Mulberry.com from 14th June and in stores globally on 15th June, with prices starting at £595
Images | Mulberry