Ahluwalia Makes Womenswear Debut in Collaboration With Ganni

The brands are partnering on two special capsules — one of which drops next week.
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On Friday, Ganni unveiled its latest designer partnership, with one of the buzziest labels in the industry: It's working with Ahluwalia on a capsule collection that'll mark the London-based brand's first foray into womenswear. 

The Danish brand tapped Ahluwalia to create a 19-piece line inspired by the U.K. Garage scene, made entirely from deadstock fabrics and leftover pieces from Ganni's 2020 production cycle that didn't sell. (You might recognize certain prints from the Pre-Spring 2020 and Spring 2020 collections.) It'll be available for purchase both online and in Ganni stores across the globe on Friday, April 23, with prices ranging from $100 to $1,350. A second collection is expected to drop later this year, for Fall 2021. 

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Collaborations aren't new for Ganni, which, over the years, has linked up with brands ranging from Shrimps to Levi's. "When we do collaborations, we try not to set too many rules," Ditte Reffstrup, Ganni's creative director, tells Fashionista, via e-mail. "When Priya and I met, it was pretty much a clean slate. Priya has never done womenswear before, so that was a really exciting new venture for her to explore. I think we both take the same approach — that we design things we would want to wear ourselves."

Something that Ganni does look for when sniffing out potential partnerships, Reffstrup notes, is an opportunity to learn a new skill or add something to the brand. With Ahluwalia, that meant engaging more with circularity. "We have wanted to dive into the world of upcycling and reworking for some time now, in a more structured way. It's been so inspiring to work with Priya because creating responsibly is at the core of what she does," she writes. "Where other people might see limitations in working with excess stock and deadstock fabrics, Priya saw opportunity."

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Reffstrup and Ahluwalia met through friends and had been talking about a potential collaboration for over a year. According to Reffstrup, through this collection, the designer — who, since launching her label in 2018, has received the 2021 Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design, the 2020 LVMH Prize and the 2019 H&M Design Award — was able to take certain recognizable Ganni silhouettes, "such as the strap dress and the ruched slim fitted dresses," and infused them with a fresh energy and point of view, "combining different panels of fabric and adding a much more feminine and sexy vibe to many of the pieces."

For Ahluwalia, this project offered "a great opportunity to explore womenswear with the support of their team, both creatively but also logistically," she tells Fashionista, via-email.

"Since my first show, lots of people have been asking me about womenswear. A lot of people wear my clothes as womenswear, anyway," she explains. "I have always known I wanted to do it, but as a small brand, there's only so much we can do at one time." 

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Ahluwalia was able to take a more personal approach while working on this collection: "I actually inserted myself into the design process a lot, which makes me laugh a bit. I was really thinking about what my friends and I wear, and what we want to wear but can't find."

"My approach was to consider the fit in a way that makes the wearer feel really comfortable whilst being quite figure-hugging," she continues. "I thought about the human form a lot more than I do with my menswear, but it will be something I carry over moving forward."

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The Spring 2021 drop of Ganni x Ahluwalia is "an ode to our joint love for a good party, whether that's at the club or in your kitchen," according to Reffstrup: "It's a collection made to make women feel strong and confident."

Ahluwalia remembers meeting Reffstrup and Ganni founder Nicolaj Reffstrup at one of the brand's famous parties, "where I (literally) danced all night." The past year in lockdown only fed into her desire to go out, so that became central to the collection. "U.K. Garage has significance in my family and I grew up listening to it," she notes. "It also translates in the collection, because I was focused on the designs working for people who are dancing and being easy to move in, whilst also complimenting the female form." 

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This isn't the end of their partnership: A second Ganni x Ahluwalia capsule will drop this fall. "Collaborating with brands gives us so much fresh perspective and we love expanding our universe," Reffstrup adds.

See every single product from Ganni's Spring 2021 collaboration with Ahluwalia in the gallery, below. 

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