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A square stenciled print, like a club flyer, put a souvenir stamp on the theme of Priya Ahluwalia’s collection for fall 2023. Sounds of Ahluwalia: Passport to Freedom, it read, a graphic printed in a square on the backs of some of the jackets and shirts. The designer said she’d been thinking about the music that surrounded her as a child growing up in London for as long as she can remember: 1990s hip-hop, Bollywood soundtracks; everything from Sade to Fela Kuti to Luther Vandross and Lauryn Hill.

“Over the last two years, especially when I've been doing more films, and my first two runway shows, it's made me really think about what Ahluwalia sounds like, and what music means for me as creative and for the brand.”

It wasn’t a nostalgia trip for the sake of a show. Alhuwalia’s a smart, practical business owner who has her eye out for the social context of what her customers are wearing and where they’re going. Out and about with friends across the movie and music businesses, she’s spotted the need for clothes for appearances—could be on stage, in clubs, on sofas on TV shows, parties, awards, whatever. “So I thought, what does an Ahluwalia person do when they dress up? My research was a lot about superstars,” she said. “So there's a lot more pieces that are for people to wear—like a superstar!”

The new bling-ier dimensions of Ahluwalia embrace skin-tight mini dresses, thigh-high boots, zebra print A-logo belts, and beaded embroidery made in India. There was a knitted leotard, cut high on the hip and scooped out in the back. Hooded looks nodded to Sade Adu.

She found an extension of the signature patchworked wave pattern that intersects her tailored jackets this season. “I took the sound-waves from some of my favorite music, and turned them into prints.” They were laser-etched onto denim and translated into knit, and prints on shirting and tracksuits. For her finale, out came a spiral-cut denim fishtail skirt- her homage to Lauryn Hill. Her generational fan-base applauded Ahluwalia and her references to the rafters.