South Asian communities and identities are experiencing a (long overdue) rise and owning their space. A region and community that has long been away from the mainstream, the world is now taking notice of our intelligence, art, and culture.
The region is teeming with innumerable art forms and their craftspeople. From fashion to food, and performing arts to the written word, South Asia’s talent lies in its people who have spent much of their lives underrepresented. Now, these creatives are integrating these very South Asian creative aspects into globally known brands.
The craftspeople of the region, through their intellect and talent, present their craftsmanship wonderfully. A few labels nurture this and allow the creativity to shine through in ways apart from traditional. Here are some of those brands.
Handcrafted Indian textiles find a way to be elevated at Kardo. Launched in 2013, this label wishes to bring eco-conscious and slow menswear to the fore. Traditional weaving, dying, and printing techniques of India take centre stage and the garments allow for the craftsmanship and the craftspeople to shine through.
Find Kardo here.
II. Karu Research
Menswear meets the utmost hard work and creativity of Indian craftspeople at Karu Research. The word ‘Karu’ itself comes from the Sanskrit word for artisan. Cultural heritage and modernity intertwine at Karu with all due credit to those who make it possible. Established by Kartik Kumra in 2021, Karu Research justifies the criteria of craftsmanship and reimagination perfectly.
Find Karu Research here.
Redefining luxury urbanwear, Rastah, which means ‘path’ in Urdu, is a label that aims to reinterpret South Asian heritage and artisanship. Their pieces are handmade and limited edition, all ethically sourced and sustainably made by those who have been practising the arts for years. Each of their collections begins its journey and comes to fruition in Pakistan.
Find Rastah here.
IV. Roopa Pemmaraju
Roopa Pemmaraju follows ‘by hand, from the heart’ dearly and their artisans lie at the core of the brand. Designed in New York, the label’s work comes to life in India through the hands of their craftspeople. The artisans are no less than family and are fairly compensated for their intelligent and talented work. Envisioned as a ‘modern heirloom’ as they call it, Roopa Pemmaraju fits the bill perfectly.
Find Roopa Pemmaraju here.
Wunderhaus’s aim to get more youth to come across and fall in love with Indian handicraft and handloom does much for our craftspeople. What feels like a wearable ode to Indian artisans, Wunderhaus and its collection is unisex and free size. With equal and deserved recognition for those who make the label possible, this brand remains one of our favourites.
Find Wunderhaus here.
VI. ZN ALI
Founder Zain Ali’s journey with the label began with a curiosity of clothing evolution within his own family. As part of his family left India post-partition, he wondered how clothes signified the shift in culture, or if at all. The garments seem to be nostalgic of places and times left behind but are also made for the modern wearer.
Find ZN ALI here.
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