Winner 2019: Priya Ahluwalia
Today in Berlin, Priya Ahluwalia was announced as winner of the H&M Design Award 2019, H&M’s annual prize for the best graduate designers from around the world. Priya, a graduate from the MA course of the University of Westminster, London, wins a prize total of 50,000 Euro. Now in its eighth year, the H&M Design Award shows H&M’s long-term commitment to the future of fashion talent, and to helping push fashion forward.
“I feel absolutely ecstatic. I never dreamed this could happen. Winning the H&M Design Award will let me develop this idea into a business that has sustainability truly at its heart,” says Priya Ahluwalia, winner of the H&M Design Award 2019.
“Priya is unique, something very new and exciting. She is a designer marrying sustainability with wearability and fashion. Priya proves that forward-thinking fashion can be sustainable,” says Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s creative advisor.
Priya’s winning collection combined both recycled materials with new sustainable fabrics, showing the possibilities for the future of environmentally responsible fashion. The London-born designer looked to her Nigerian and Indian heritage to bring stories of the garment waste industry to light, and to show how second-hand clothing can be used in a meaningful way. Her menswear is sporty, playful and serious in its message.
Priya follows in the footsteps of the 2017 winner Richard Quinn, who has become one of the hottest new names in fashion. Richard made international headlines when HRH Queen Elizabeth II sat front row at his AW18 show at London Fashion Week in February 2018. Meanwhile last year’s winner, Stefan Cooke, is now showing at London Fashion Week Men as part of the Fashion East collective, and is already stocked at stores such as Dover Street Market.
Other finalists were Bo Xu – London College of Fashion; Bohyun Park – SADI, South Korea; Erica Bergamaschi – Polimoda, Italy; Ervin Latimer – Aalto, Finland; Guusje de Bruin – Artez, Netherlands; Hannah Vanspauwen – KASK, Belgium; Paolina Russo – Central Saint Martins, UK; Rebecca Szmidt – La Cambre, Belgium and Regina Weber – Weissensee, Germany. Each of the finalists won 5000 Euro, in recognition of their work.
Priya was chosen as winner by an international jury that included Christiane Arp, editor-in-chief of German Vogue; last year’s H&M Design Award winner Stefan Cooke; broadcaster and consultant Camille Charrière; Highsnobiety style director Jan-Michael Quammie; writer Charlie Porter; H&M’s creative advisors Ann-Sofie Johansson and Margareta van den Bosch.
“Priya was so passionate, with a story that resonates with so many different cultures and backgrounds. She can be a leader, showing the industry that fashion can both be beautiful and environmentally conscious,” says Jan-Michael Quammie, style director of Highsnobiety.
Since the first H&M Design Award in 2012, 4000 applications have been received and over 100 graduates have taken part in the award. The H&M Design Award 2019 was open to both BA and MA graduates from 42 selected design schools in 17 countries. For H&M, it’s about shining a global spotlight on new talent, both rewarding this year’s best graduates, and encouraging young people around the world to choose fashion as their future path.