Over the past few years, we as a country, have been on a Japanese binge of sorts. Whether it is Japanese food or Japanese shows and animes. Fashion is no different in that regard and we have been noticing quite a few South-Asian brands that are being inspired by both the Harajuku street style and Tokyo street style and the many futuristic designs that are at the intersection of fashion and functionality as well as those that are inspired by the traditional Japanese techniques, whether it is pattern-making or shibori.
Here are some of the new wave of South-Asian fashion labels that are helming a new decade of fashion that is inspired by Japanese aesthetics and techniques.
Founded by Dipika Udhani, a self-taught shibori artist and fashion entrepreneur based in Gujarat, Adheera emphasises the techniques of Japanese manual resist dyeing. Born out of curiosity about learning tie and dye techniques of imprinting, the brand is giving the age-old practice of Shibori an ethical spin as they create minimal waste designs by replacing chemical dyes with natural dyes. Moving away from the seasonal garments ideology of fast fashion brands, they promote timeless pieces that have exquisite details derived from tie-dye, surface ornamentation and embroidery; where each garment speaks of a story in patterns and colours, yet is equally novel and unbound from tradition.
Refining the scope of techwear’s design and appeal in the Indian subcontinent is the nascent label, Garuda which marries design and functionality to appeal to the contemporary urban youth. The brainchild of Suhail Sahrawat, they have been headlining the techwear market for a while now. Since its inception, GARUDA’s focus has always been on producing high-performance multi-purpose clothing, drawing on classic silhouettes and using the highest quality materials from around the world. While the concept of techwear originated in the US, it is Japanese streetwear culture that has really brought it to the forefront. Whether it is amping up the traditional kimono or the cyberpunk techwear aesthetic, Japanese street culture was the first to take to the next and Garuda seems to be following in line.
You can check out the brand here.
Founded in 2018 by mother-daughter duo Bhumika and Minakshi Ahluwalia, the brand tells the story of their bond whilst keeping sustainability at the heart of everything. Bhumika debuted the brand at the virtual event for Lakme Fashion Week in 2020 under the ‘Gen Next’ Category and bagged an award for her collection ‘Shuwa’. For the collection, they used fabric varieties such as orange peel fabric, banana fabric, recycled cotton, and handwoven cotton in shades of light yellow, pink, aubergine, and dual-tone blue among others. Inspired by geometry and architecture – the shapes and forms created by hand gestures inspired them to juxtapose them into silhouettes; they further used cord embroidery that was inspired by palm lines. In a previous interview with Homegrown, they said, “We focus a lot on pattern making. We believe it’s an integral part of the garment-making process. Our designs are minimal yet detailed majorly inspired by shapes and forms. We use zero-waste pattern-making techniques and Japanese pattern-making techniques that lead to minimal wastage of fabrics. We make sure we upcycle every small cutting created while making the garment. We want to promote beautifully constructed conscious clothes through every collection of ours.”
Shop the collection here.
IV. Saeedah Haque
London-based 23-year-old British-Bangladeshi Saeedah Haque started her fashion brand to redefine the way we look at the traditional ‘abaya.’ At the core of her brand, she remodels the traditional abaya worn by Muslim women into streetwear that can be easily paired with your favourite kicks. Her designs are minimalistic and are prominently inspired by Japanese fine work and her Bangladeshi heritage. Elements like side pockets, zippers, high collars, clean cuts, variegated fitting sleeves, and buttons add mobility to the garment and make it suited for everyday use. When talking about the inspiration behind the idea for her brand, she mentioned that her time in Japan, where she saw women don the kimono as well as loose-fitted clothing that was at once a conservative way of dressing that did not compromise on fashion.
Virsheté is a Mumbai-based uber-cool ready-to-wear fashion label that was kickstarted in 2019 by fashion designer and creative director, Vir Shete. Their Spring/Summer 2020 ready-to-wear collection was a homage to the designer’s time in Japan and the people they met there. It drew extensively from the Tokyo street style and Japanese martial arts uniforms and gear.
Check out the label here.
VI. Walking Vertical
Walking Verticle was founded by Akash Patwal, a 24-year-old NIFT graduate turned new age textile artist who is pushing the boundaries of what can be considered a textile, as well as bridging the gap between textile medium and abstract art. Experimenting with embroidery, eco-printing, patchwork and other intricate processes that require utmost craftsmanship and detail, the brand is inspired by the loose-fitting and abstract designs of Tokyo streetwear culture. The abstract forms, shapes, intricate details, and colours are signature elements of the textile whizz’s work, all of which are in line with an unmistakably Japanese streetwear aesthetic.
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