Mulberry launched Mulberry x Ahluwalia, in collaboration with designer Priya Ahluwalia, reimagining the Portobello Tote and an assortment of scarves in her signature vibrant aesthetic.
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The partnership is the latest Mulberry Editions collection to launch during Mulberry’s 50th anniversary year, spotlighting the best in contemporary design, dropping on 14th
The collection is influenced by Ahluwalia’s fascination with hair as a means of identity, protest and expression, drawing on the designer’s mixed Nigerian-Indian heritage, both cultures in which hair holds such importance. It celebrates the artistry, rituals and symbolism of Afro-Caribbean hair and Priya’s own personal narrative, which is brought to life through the capsule’s unique design, bold colour and striking motifs.
The bespoke ‘wave’ prints created for the collection are inspired by the techniques of braided Black hair and are showcased in braid-inspired seam lines and patchwork details. 60s and 70s protest symbols of pride, such as the Afro comb and braided hair silhouettes, are also purposed into custom-made embroidered badges that decorate an assortment of the bag styles.
The limited-edition capsule heroes the Portobello Tote, originally launched by Mulberry in 2019 as its first 100% sustainable leather bag. The Mulberry x Ahluwalia capsule is crafted in Mulberry’s carbon neutral Somerset Factories, using only repurposed fabrics and leathers that have been reworked for the capsule, meaning the bags are created in limited quantities.
The collection consists of four oversized Portobello Totes, five Portobello Totes and three Mini Portobello Totes, a new size created especially for the collaboration. The bags are complemented by four 100% organic silk scarf designs, specially created in a 70×70 dimension so they can be worn as a bandana or headscarf.
On 14th June 2021, the Mulberry x Ahluwalia capsule will be shown during London Fashion Week as part of Ahluwalia’s Spring Summer ‘22 collection and womenswear debut. The collaboration will be accompanied by a new film, Parts of Me, directed by BAFTA-nominated director Akinola Davies Jr., in a powerful ode to the art of Black hair as a potent symbol of identity, protest and self-expression.
As an extension of the project, Ahluwalia and Mulberry have also collaborated on a second film, Tools of Expression, continuing the storytelling around the powerful inspirations behind the collection. Driving the cultural conversation around Black hair, the film spotlights three hair stories from cross-disciplinary talents in an intimate salon setting, in conversation about how their hair frames their personal identity, what their hair means to them, societal misconceptions around Black hair and how it should continue to be celebrated.
Deepening the collaborative message around pride and beauty in Black hair, Mulberry has added to its own policy and signed up to the Halo Code, a set of commitments that are focused on creating a future without race-based hair discrimination.
The Mulberry x Ahluwalia collection continues Mulberry’s rich history of collaboration and combines the brand’s Made to Last ethos with Ahluwalia’s responsible and design-led innovation to create a timeless collection which champions British craftsmanship.
The Mulberry x Ahluwalia collection launches on Mulberry.com from 14th June and in stores globally on 15th June.
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“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. I haven’t yet had a chance to make accessories and I think with Mulberry x Ahluwalia, we have brought together our mutual values to create beautiful pieces that people can buy and cherish forever,” said Priya Ahluwalia, Creative Director, Ahluwalia.
“We are thrilled to have collaborated with Priya as part of Mulberry Editions during our 50th anniversary year. 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,” said Thierry Andretta, Mulberry CEO.