The past few years have seen the street culture in the country grow phenomenally. From India’s first festival dedicated to street culture to sneakerhead communities sprouting in different parts of the country - street culture is no longer an abstract idea. Street fashion, too, has emerged as a pioneering form of expression of the youth today. It ties in a range of elements from traditional cultural aesthetics to pop-culture, films, music and so much more. Which is not to say that the good old days of haute couture are gone, bling will always be an integral part of fashion. However, it seems like we’re going back to the basics, millennials are embracing the comfortable, the personal and the laid-back.
With an unprecedented growth in the fashion world, streetwear is definitely here to stay. It represents the diversity of Indian youth and the things they cherish and stand for. Though often a region alienated by mainland India, the north east has emerged as a fore-bringer of new trends to the street-wear scene, making marks domestically and globally. We’ve curated a list of dynamic designers from the seven sisters who are turning heads and making waves.
I. Nixon Bui
A native of Doporiji in Arunachal Pradesh, Nixon Bui started his clothing brand with an agenda to show the world the rich culture he grew up with back home and to preserve practices close to extinction. Multiculturalism forms the foundation of his designs, his unique contemporary urban wear fuses tribal motifs, patterns, and aesthetics with minimalist Scandinavian sensibilities. The brand actively works towards being socially and environmentally conscious as well. Bui is dead-set against the principles of fast fashion because of the wastage and exploitation that comes with it. Having dabbled in men’s wear so far, this summer, Bui dropped his first women’s wear line.
II. Shia Rai
One of India’s premiere haute streetwear clothing houses, Shia Rai creates clothes for youngsters who want to express their distinct individuality and explore new styles. The clothes are influenced by various subcultures around the globe as well as vintage aesthetics. Rai’s creations are definitely for those who lean towards the beautifully subtle and understated, all the while mixing it up with interesting elements. From unisex monochromatic tracksuits to tartan maxis, you can find it all.
III. Tribe Fiction
Started in 2013 and owned by Hillside Apparel, the brand was a joint venture of two brothers, John and Joel Sailo. Tribe Fiction has been called North East’s first legitimate streetwear brand, as they strive to be accessible and affordable while remaining true to their distinct style. “With our custom designed clothes wear with imprints from various ways of life of the northeast, we are trying to promote our region,” says John, the Marketing Manager to Morung Express.
If you are into graphic shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts that sport fun prints, then Tribe Fiction is definitely for you. They have established shops in Mizoram, Shillong, and Dimapur, and hope to slowly expand country-wide and launch an online portal as well.
IV. Old Cabin
What started out as an experiment when designer Tiasunep Aier started hand-painting shirts with his artwork on them grew into something much bigger. His childhood of DC and Marvel comics, cartoons, and cable television influenced the dynamic creations we see today. The motifs on his clothes range from traces of art, pop culture, and music to Japanese type fonts (he’s even planning on using Hindi!). As the website states, “Old cabin offers deeper concepts and meanings to its clothes instead of merely creating a skin-deep commercial streetwear brand.”
V. Winter Made
Started by popular graphic designer, illustrator, and artist Moa Lemtur, also known as Shinobi, Winter Made is the clothing outlet that sports his gorgeous work on totes, t-shirts, crop-tops and more. If you are into edgy illustrations and art, you’d definitely like Winter Made’s creations.
Winter Made also aims to be a collaborative platform curated by Shinobi, through which a multitude of artists and craftsmen can display their work.
Feature image by: Shia Rai and Nixon Bui
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