Priya Ahluwalia has been announced as the winner of the H&M Design Award 2019 for sustainability. H&M’s annual prize recognises best graduate designers from around the world. Now in its eighth year, the H&M Design Award shows the long-term commitment of the Swedish retailer to the future of fashion talent, and to helping push fashion forward. The H&M Design Award 2019 was open to both BA and MA graduates from 42 selected design schools in 17 countries. For H&M, it’s about shining a global spotlight on new talent, both rewarding this year’s best graduates, and encouraging young people around the world to choose fashion as their future path.

“I feel absolutely ecstatic. I never dreamed this could happen. Winning the H&M Design Award will let me develop this idea into a business that has sustainability truly at its heart,” said Ahluwalia, a graduate from the MA course of the University of Westminster, London.

Ahluwalia has won a prize total of €50,000 for her collection combined both recycled materials with new sustainable fabrics, showing the possibilities for the future of environmentally responsible fashion. The London-born designer looked to her Nigerian and Indian heritage to bring stories of the garment waste industry to light, and to show how second-hand clothing can be used in a meaningful way. Her menswear is sporty, playful and serious in its message, H&M said.

Other finalists were Bo Xu – London College of Fashion; Bohyun Park – SADI, South Korea; Erica Bergamaschi – Polimoda, Italy; Ervin Latimer – Aalto, Finland; Guusje de Bruin – Artez, Netherlands; Hannah Vanspauwen – KASK, Belgium; Paolina Russo – Central Saint Martins, UK; Rebecca Szmidt – La Cambre, Belgium and Regina Weber – Weissensee, Germany. Each of the finalists won €5000, in recognition of their work.

Ahluwalia has been chosen as the winner by an international jury that included Christiane Arp, editor-in-Chief of German Vogue; last year’s H&M Design Award winner Stefan Cooke; broadcaster and consultant Camille Charrière; Highsnobiety Style Director Jan-Michael Quammie; Writer Charlie Porter; H&M’s Creative Advisors Ann-Sofie Johansson and Margareta van den Bosch.

“Priya was so passionate, with a story that resonates with so many different cultures and backgrounds. She can be a leader, showing the industry that fashion can both be beautiful and environmentally conscious,” said Quammie.