The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design was given today to Priya Ahluwalia. The Award was presented by Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen in a pre-filmed video. Ahluwalia is recognised for her active contribution to changing the industry for the better, her work in pioneering responsible sourcing and manufacturing techniques, while telling the stories of those who make her clothes and the communities she works with.
Ahluwalia is a menswear brand founded by London-born designer Priya Ahluwalia, who graduated from the MA Menswear course at the University of Westminster in 2018 and won the H&M Design Award in 2019. Ahluwalia takes elements from her dual Indian-Nigerian heritage and London roots, exploring the life of secondhand and dead stock clothing, using textile techniques to give them new life. In 2019, Ahluwalia was a recipient of BFC’s 2019/2020 NEWGEN initiative and was one of the eight joint winners of the 2020 LMVH prize. 'She is a progressive thinking leader and agent for change who has used her platform to raise awareness around the challenges of the Black community, especially in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement,' read a statement released by the BFC.
The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design was first initiated to recognise the role the fashion industry plays in society and diplomacy, and is awarded annually. Emerging British fashion designers who demonstrate value to the community and/or have strong sustainable policies are the most likely candidates for the prize.
The award was first presented to Richard Quinn in February 2018 at his A/W 18 womenswear show, when The Queen made a surprise visit to London Fashion Week. In 2019, Bethany Williams was presented the award by The Duchess of Cornwall and in 2020, Rosh Mahtani by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.
The idea of the award was raised by Her Majesty’s personal advisor, Ms Angela Kelly, who has orchestrated The Queen’s wardrobe for over two decades. Following Her Majesty's 90th birthday celebrations, it was agreed that an award would be created to recognise emerging British fashion talent in the name of Queen Elizabeth II, to provide a legacy of support for the industry in recognition the role fashion has played throughout The Queen's Reign and continues to play in diplomacy, culture and communications.