Meet Priya Ahluwalia and her Disney Create 100 auction piece

Meet Priya Ahluwalia and her contribution to the Disney 100 auction | Soho House

The Soho House member and founder of fashion brand Ahluwalia designed a special jacket based on the Disney film ‘Soul’. Here, she shares the inspiration behind it

Thursday 26 October 2023   By Soho House

This year, Disney celebrates its 100th anniversary, and as part of these celebrations it’s hosting an online auction with donations from some of the world’s most renowned brands, including Christian Louboutin, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Virgil Abloh. Alongside this, all of the emerging talents from our Future 100 list are donating a one-of-a-kind piece that celebrates their favourite Disney character or story in support of Make-A-Wish®.

Priya Ahluwalia – the creative director and founder of Ahluwalia, which launched in 2018 – is one of the Future 100 creatives who will be donating a denim jacket, inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Soul. The London-based designer has woven her magic into a unique custom piece, paying homage to the film’s soulful narrative, and capturing a fusion of Indian and Nigerian culture. 

The fashion designer has won a host of accolades for her label, including the 2021 Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design – plus, she was named Leader of Change at the Fashion Awards 2022. Here, we get to know Ahluwalia and find out what inspired her to design this jacket. 

Tell us about the piece you’ve made for the Disney Create 100 auction. 
‘I’ve designed a denim jacket, which is inspired by the film Soul. It showcases lasered artwork on its base that depicts the breathtaking scenery and vistas of the movie. On the back, there is a vinyl print that takes inspiration from jazz music, which is the main character Joe’s favourite. And on top of that, there are embroidered figures from the film.’

How does your business align with Disney? 
‘We both champion curiosity, creativity, and the nurturing of boundless imagination. Furthermore, storytelling holds a paramount place within the Disney universe, and here at Ahluwalia we are equally dedicated to conveying narratives in our own unique way.’

Meet Priya Ahluwalia and her contribution to the Disney 100 auction | Soho House

What does creativity mean to you? 
‘Creativity, to me, is the infinite capacity to explore, express, and evolve my thoughts and ideas. It allows you to break free from the confines of convention, enabling you to envision and develop innovative ideas and solutions. In the landscape of 2023, it’s an important tool for addressing the multifaceted challenges and opportunities of our time. It empowers individuals and communities to navigate, adapt and thrive in an ever-evolving world.’  

What do you have planned for Ahluwalia? 
‘Right now, we’re busy working on our upcoming AW24 collection. I’m also involved in some exciting film projects as a director with Ridley Scott Creative Group’s Black Dog Films. 

I see the world of Ahluwalia in lots of different spaces. I can picture what a room or car interior by Ahluwalia would look like, and we’re planning to expand into more areas in the future.’ 

How do you ensure that the Ahluwalia magic continues to be woven into every initiative you embark on? 
‘Our mission is to create, innovate and design, while driving social and environmental change. My inspiration is drawn from a rich tapestry of sources, encompassing art, music, literature, and the cultural influences of the African and South Asian diasporas. This amalgamation creates a unique crossroads where the near and far, past and present intersect, making Ahluwalia a brand that’s simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic. It’s this blend that continues to weave the magic of Ahluwalia into everything we do.’

How does collaboration influence your business and creative process? 
‘I find collaboration so important to my creative process; it’s an opportunity to learn. I’m a curious person and Ahluwalia is a curious brand, so it makes sense to us to collaborate with partners that share our values, but also have a different type of business or craft. Collaboration allows myself and the team to expand our skills, learn new perspectives and ultimately have a really fun time working with other like-minded creatives.’

Which Disney character do you most align with personally? 
‘Princess Tiana, but I don’t want to kiss any frogs.’

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