If the words ‘sex’ and ‘masturbation’ are enough to incite discomfort (at the least) in most Indians, imagine what ‘kink’ would do. While the Indian mindset, as a whole, has been shifting ever-so-slightly in terms of acceptance of sex and sexuality, a large population still hushes these terms away –– (un)fortunately for them, many individuals are here to change that.
Yes, the erotic texts in Kama Sutra and sculptures in Khajuraho are common knowledge with regards to the kind of pioneer of sex India once was. However, years since the last time sex was openly accepted by this country as a natural act, things have gotten complicated. Kinks and fetishes are unwelcome as soon as the words are uttered.
Subculture, a homegrown label aims at normalising just that. With a vision of putting leather into erotic as well as aesthetic fantasies, the brand is centred around the concepts of fashion, fetish and utility.
We indulged in conversation with Randhir Singh, founder and creator of Subculture to explore this rather unique field of fashion and fetish.
On how erotism carves its own space in Indian culture, Randhir says, “Erotism has always existed in India under the thick blanket of the bedroom. People are now starting to talk about what was once considered unspeakable and taboo. It is slowly becoming a part of public discourse.” This in itself places a lot in perspective –– how sex, people’s preference and dialogue around it is shielded within walls, and considered ‘dirty’ if spoken out loud. With Subculture’s leather accessories that pertain to kinks, these conversations may surface to normalcy.
Leather fetish fashion and kink lifestyle has done its rounds around the world but skipped over India. While leather utility items exist in all their glory in our country, Subculture’s products are first-of-its-kind. “Subculture intends to destigmatize the idea of leather kink through leather kink fashion. This journey has already begun. A recent collection ‘Adonis at Play’ by Indian designer Siddharth Tyler combined leather body harnesses with his designs,” says Randhir as he explains the headway made in this niche.
Subculture is bound to make a section of Indians uncomfortable and awkward –– in no consumer media has the Indian layperson been exposed to the use of leather kink and its products. However, the utility of leather as a fashion and erotism tool is immense. During his second year at NIFT Delhi, Randhir recognised the gap in the Indian market and noticed that the West had been capitalising on this concept for long. His college curriculum did not include anything on leather as kink, and so he took it upon himself to explore that white space –– today, that exploration has resulted in Subculture.
“The idea behind Subculture is that it is more than just another brand. It offers a means by which all people can explore and lead a lifestyle that is different,” reveals Randhir. Kinks, and leather as kink are far more than an activity. Randhir helps us out by saying, “At Subculture, we want to celebrate all forms of love that have always co-existed in the Indian sub-continent.”
Brands like Subculture have more than business on their mind –– it is about including a group of people and their existence in the daily functioning of this rather ruthless world; it is about exploration and it is most definitely about celebration.
If we were not able to convince you of that, here’s a statement by Randhir that might:
“I think as a country we have many things that are yet to be explored, yet to be talked about, and yet to be expressed –– that which our normative lives do not allow us to otherwise. There is a big community out there that either openly or discretely supports what Subculture is about –– that ultimately, we should have the freedom to express and explore.”
Explore Subculture here.
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